NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Sharks vs. Kraken (Jan. 20)
Christopher Mast/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Jared McCann
Sharks vs. Kraken Odds
|Time||10 p.m. ET|
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The Sharks and Kraken face off for the second time this season in a Pacific Division battle. The first-ever matchup between these two teams back in mid-December saw a low-scoring affair with Seattle grabbing the road win 3-1.
Can we expect to see more of the same Thursday night?
The Sharks Are Running Hot
The Sharks are coming off of a big 6-2 win over the Pacific Division’s second-place Los Angeles Kings, where Timo Meier went berserk scoring five goals in the first two periods. While Timo has been electric on the offensive end all season, the six-goal outing is very uncharacteristic for this squad. San Jose has only scored five or more goals in seven of its last 36 games.
Outside of Meier, the Sharks offense leaves much to be desired. They rank 20th in expected goals per 60 at 5-on-5, 21st in goals per game, 17th in Shots on Net percentage at 5-on-5 and 22nd in power play percentage. San Jose is extremely top-heavy, with just Meier and Hertl accounting for 36% of all the team’s goals this season.
I expect the Kraken to dial in on those two guys, and while Seattle is below-average in almost every aspect of the game, they suffocate opponents’ shooting ability and make life difficult for snipers to find the net.
While San Jose’s offense has been struggling, projected starter Adin Hill has found a groove in net lately. Hill has not allowed more than two goals in five straight starts, including his last effort against the powerhouse Penguins where he stopped 25 of 27 shots.
In front of the net, the Sharks’ defensive numbers illustrate a much different story than their stagnant offense. San Jose ranks 14th in expected goals against per 60 minutes, first in Shots on Net percentage at 5-on-5 and has the 8th best penalty-killing unit in the league.
The Kraken Can’t Generate Any Offense
The Kraken continue their six-game homestand following a shootout win over the Chicago Blackhawks, a low-scoring affair with Seattle notching the 3-2 victory.
Much like San Jose, the Kraken’s offense is very suspect. Seattle ranks 30th in expected goals for per 60, 23rd in Shots on Net percentage at 5-on-5 and 19th in PP%. The Kraken have only scored more than three goals twice in their last 14 games, a stretch of some brutal offensive performances.
I am not quite sure what GM Ron Francis had in mind when constructing this roster during the expansion process, as he seemed to go in the direction of defense and size in a league that is transitioning more towards speed and skill.
Again, like San Jose, the Kraken’s strength rests in their ability to force the opponent to only score difficult chances. The Kraken rank 6th in expected goals against per 60 minutes and 16th in 5v5 Shots Against on Net %.
Sharks vs. Kraken Pick
Both of these teams’ advantages rest with their defenses. Both the Sharks and the Kraken rank in the top half of the league in expected goals against and Shots Against on Net percentage, while at the same time they both rank in the bottom half of the league in expected goals created and Shots on Net percentage.
The trends also suggest a low-scoring affair, as the Sharks have stayed under 5.5 in five of their last six games while the Kraken have stayed under 5.5 in three straight contests.
Just like their first meeting, I think this game will stay under the total.
Pick: Under 5.5 goals (-115 or better)