The week in the National Hockey League begins with a solid match-up tonight featuring old Western Conference rivals San Jose and Detroit at Joe Louis Arena. The Sharks are the only team in the league without a regulation loss and have had their share of success against the Red Wings in the past. Goalie Antti Niemi is 10-2-2 with a 1.81 goals-against average and a .939 save percentage in his career against the boys from Motown. Detroit’s Jimmy Howard is 3-5-3 lifetime against the Sharks, who are currently -115 favorites.
On Tuesday, the New Jersey Devils visit Columbus and Cory Schneider will get his second consecutive start after shutting out the New York Rangers on Saturday. Schneider has had good success against the Blue Jackets in the past, going 6-1-1 with a .937 save percentage and a 1.92 GAA.
Sergei Bobrovsky has struggled against the Devils in his career, going 1-2-1 with an .866 save percentage and a 4.50 GAA. The Devils could be worth a small shot as a likely underdog.
On Thursday, we’ll look to the Sharks once again as they visit Boston and Niemi is undefeated in five starts against the Bruins. Tuukka Rask has never played against the Sharks. The game also features the subplot of the 2005 trade that sent Joe Thornton to the San Jose Sharks, a move that is still debated by fans of Boston, although the Bruins did win the Stanley Cup, which is something Thornton has never done.
The Pittsburgh Penguins visit Toronto on Saturday and the Maple Leafs have held their own with the Penguins over the years, as Pittsburgh starter Marc-Andre Fluery is 13-8-3 with a .891 save percentage and a 3.15 GAA. Most of those numbers were set against a Toronto team that was weaker than the current squad.
James Reimer is 3-0-2 lifetime against the Penguins, while Jonathan Bernier has yet to face Pittsburgh in his young career.
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