Stars vs. Sharks Odds, Preview, Prediction: Can Dallas Improve Playoff Aspirations? (Dec. 11)
Glenn James/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Roope Hintz.
- Dallas finishes a three-game road trip Saturday in San Jose.
- The Stars have lost two in a row but are -125 favorites against the Sharks.
- Nicholas Martin breaks down the game and gives his top pick, below.
Stars vs. Sharks Odds
|Time||10:30 p.m. ET|
|Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.|
Dallas hits the road on Saturday to play San Jose. The Sharks currently have the slight edge in the standings, but the Stars may have more depth to eventually leap the Sharks.
After two straight losses, can Dallas get back on the winning side?
Stars Must Find Depth Scoring
After a dominant stretch with nine regulation wins in 10 contests and a +17 goal differential, the Stars finally cooled off over a mid-week, road back-to-back in Vegas and Los Angeles. They look to bounce back here after some days off to reset.
The Stars have seen one of the league’s better lines last season in Roope Hintz, Jason Robertson and Joe Pavelski catch fire again of late, with a combined 51 points over the last 15 games. They are controlling play well, scoring 65% of the team’s goals while on the ice together at 5-on-5, with an xGF% of 61.4 this season.
The Stars will likely need to see improved depth scoring behind them should they find meaningful success this season. Although the team figures to be dominant in its own zone again this season, I feel an xGA/60 of 2.33 over its last 12 is likely worse than we will see from it as the season rolls along.
Dallas does have some pieces that conceivably offer more upside offensively, one being Denis Gurianov, who I continue to feel holds a skillset which should offer more than eight points in 23 games. He just does not seem to gel with coach Rick Bowness at times.
Tyler Seguin and Alex Radulov have yet to find the level of play seen in previous seasons, and it’s hard to say if they can find that level after notable injuries. At some point the team will need more than one line to produce, and those two have the potential to click offensively more so than we have seen so far.
That said, if some of these guys can click behind that top trio who have legitimately been a top-10 line league wide over a season-and-a-half sample size now, the Stars hold some meaningful upside going forward.
It’s unclear whether we will see Braden Holtby or Jake Oettinger draw the start here, but I would lean towards Oettinger who seems to be forcing Bowness’ hand into a starter’s role with some excellent play.
Over seven games Oettinger has stopped .951 % of shots faced, with a +6.9 goals saved above expected rating (GSAx).
Sharks Will Likely Be On Playoff Bubble
San Jose has posted notably better results this season, most importantly due to finally receiving some better goaltending, but there has also been a notable bounce-back for Erik Karlsson.
Bob Boughner’s crew has posted a strong 54.15 xGF% its last 10 times out, with a 6-4-0 record to boot. The Sharks have been a little inconsistent this season. However, looking at it from a less analytical perspective, they clearly have still offered more in zone collapses at times than an average bunch, and I think it would be fair to say that eight out of 12 of their forwards hold below-average finishing ability.
So perhaps the Sharks will prove me wrong, but I do not believe we are going to see those strong possession numbers convert to a playoff berth this season.
San Jose has confirmed it will go with James Reimer in goal for the contest, who has been very strong in posting a .934 save percentage and a +7.3 GSAx rating throughout 14 games played this season.
Stars vs. Sharks Pick
These two squads sit close together in the standings, with Dallas one point beneath the Sharks holding three games in hand, but I’m confident come the completion of the season’s 82-game schedule we should see the Stars surpass the Sharks by a good margin.
The composition of the Stars roster is much more appealing to me, and I love the makeup of their back end led by Miro Heiskanen and John Klingberg, as opposed to one led by Brent Burns and Erik Karlsson for the Sharks.
A concern for both teams will be the depth scoring behind some very strong top units, but I think that the Stars possess a much better defensive game when in form, and I believe they will likely keep the Stars in check.
Dallas’ top trio of Hintz, Pavelski and Robertson can easily give problems to both Burns and Karlsson’s pairings, and I like the chances we see that line continue production here as well.
Excluding Thursday’s poor result in Los Angeles and a tough 5-4 defeat the night before at the hands of an excellent Vegas team, the results have been very dominant from the Stars of late, while San Jose has continued a slow trudge towards .500 after a dominant start to the season.
At -125, I think we have more than enough value to take the Stars to get their playoff aspirations back on track here, against a San Jose team that has very even splits when playing at home this season (6-5-1, even goal differential).
Pick: Dallas Stars -125 | Play to -135
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