Penguins vs. Sharks Odds, Preview, Prediction: Back Pittsburgh to Secure Road Triumph (Jan. 15)

Penguins vs. Sharks Odds, Preview, Prediction: Back Pittsburgh to Secure Road Triumph (Jan. 15) article feature image
Credit:

Juan Ocampo/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Evgeni Malkin

  • Pittsburgh caps of the night of NHL action as it makes the trip to San Jose.
  • The Penguins most recently lost in Los Angles on Thursday but are -120 favorites over the Sharks.
  • Nicholas Martin breaks down the game and gives his top pick, below.

Penguins vs. Sharks Odds

Penguins Odds -125
Sharks Odds +105
Over/Under 5.5
Time 10:30 p.m. ET
TV ESPN+
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.

Pittsburgh heads  to San Jose looking to bounce back after being thoroughly dominated in Los Angeles on Thursday, resulting in a 6-2 defeat. San Jose will look to find a win against against some tough competition, with whom they have struggled of late in posting a 1-5-0 record against playoff-bound teams.

Can Pittsburgh bounce back with a strong effort against a San Jose club which doesn’t defend overly well and will go short its top goaltender yet again?

Pittsburgh Penguins

Evaluating where this Pittsburgh team should go moving forward, I’m willing to look toward its beatdown in Los Angeles as just something that happens in a league as close as the NHL and with the nature of pro hockey.

The Penguins have produced dominant play over the last month, and should we see depth pieces like Evan Rodrigues continue to dominate going forward with superstar Evgeni Malkin back in the fold, this offense looks scary good.

Which as we have seen much of last year and much of this season, isn’t even this Penguins team’s greatest strength, with their attention to detail defensively and excellent neutral zone play helping create a great environment for Tristan Jarry to thrive.

The Penguins well balanced team play has produced an 11-2-0 run, which has nine times seen Pittsburgh hold the opposition to two or less goals and eight times seen the Penguins score four or more goals, combining for a +22 goal differential, with a 58.67 xGF percentage.

Tristan Jarry projects to start again here for the Penguins, and has been strong with a +15.3 goals saved above expected rating and a .929 save % this season.

San Jose Sharks

Thursday’s 3-0 loss to the Rangers adds to a relatively large sample of games in which San Jose have only fared well against weak competition, with five recent victories over Philadelphia (times two), Buffalo, Detroit and Arizona giving them the look of being a stronger team than I actually feel they are, especially as four of those victories came past regulation.

Surely, it’s a notably close league, and you can only beat who’s in front of you, but I still suspect we will continue to see this Sharks team struggle against tougher competition going forward. And  those contests can offer a good hideout for their top two defensive units, with each unit led by a defender in Karlsson and Burns who are notably better in games in which they are not forced to defend an overly large amount.

Over their last 10 games, the Sharks have posted a 50.46 xGF%, but when you look towards how many contests have come against teams skating through markedly awful runs of form, I wouldn’t argue that is an overly positive comment towards by any means.

With James Reimer on the IR, we should again see the Sharks go with Adin Hill here, who has been less than stellar with a -4.8 goals saved above expected rating and a .905 save % throughout 21 games played.

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Penguins vs. Sharks Pick

The Sharks have really only posted acceptable results against significantly lesser competition of late and I’m happy to go back to the well and fade them  against a really strong Penguins bunch again after doing so against New York.

The Sharks’ top defensive pairings continue to show far worse contests in which they are forced to spend more of the game defending, and in contests against stronger transitional teams such as the Penguins, and I love the Pittsburgh’s chances of bouncing back here after a notably tough night against the Kings.

The Penguins are now skating one of the league’s deeper offenses with Malkin back in the mix, and I’m willing to look past that off night and think they can get going again here against a Sharks team who have allowed plenty of goals against of late outside of a few contests coming against teams such as Buffalo, Detroit and Philadelphia, who simply haven’t scored anywhere of late.

I don’t typically put much stock into previous matchups with regards to the NHL, as every game is so unique, and teams form can transition so quickly throughout a season, but I do feel there is some relevancy that the Penguins thumped the Sharks 8-5 on January 2nd, and that it is comment about how this is not a good matchup for a Sharks team who are posting considerably better results when facing more manageable offenses.

At -110 to capture a win inside of regulation, I see a lot of value in backing Pittsburgh to go in to San Jose and get a comfortable victory.

Pick: Pittsburgh 3-Way Moneyline (-110 | Play to -130)

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