San Jose Sharks @ Detroit Red Wings Free NHL Pick 2/18/12
The longest home winning streak in the history of the NHL is going to be on the line on Sunday afternoon at Joe Louis Arena, where the San Jose Sharks are going to try to dethrone the Detroit Red Wings.
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Needless to say, the Sharks have their work cut out for them. They just aren’t playing all that well right now, losing five out of seven. The good news is that they are still sitting atop the Pacific Division, though any hopes of doing any better than the No. 3 seed in the playoffs are clearly out the window. In the end, looking at San Jose’s 13-9-5 record on the road is nothing to really be proud of, and the problem is clearly on the offensive side of the ice. The team only has netted 165 goals this year, which is a far cry from some of the top teams in the Western Conference. The trade of Dany Heatley to the Minnesota Wild in the offseason clearly hasn’t helped the team, as Martin Havlat, the main piece of the puzzle that came back to the Shark Tank in that deal, has been rather ineffective and has also been dealing with a leg injury this season. What we are also finding this year is that the Sharks really needed some help in net. Antti Niemi might have a Stanley Cup under his belt, but he also has just a 23-19 overall record with a rather suspect 2.42 GAA.
There really isn’t a heck of a lot to complain about if you’re a Red Wings fan right now. Detroit has won 22 consecutive games here at Joe Louis Arena, which is already the longest single season streak of home wins by any team in NHL history. Winning this one would break the record for the longest winning streak at home ever regardless of whether it was in a single season or stretched over two campaigns. That record dates back over 70 years, making it all the more impressive for these Red Wings. Pavel Datsyuk netted the game winner with six ticks left on the clock against the Nashville Predators on Friday for win No. 22, and it was also the team’s fifth straight win. Jimmy Howard has been out of the lineup for the last two weeks with a finger injury, but this is the game in which he is expected to make his return. Howard is one of the more dominating goalies in the game, and it is only going to help to get him back in the fold to help out a team that is already playing absolutely tremendous hockey without him.
San Jose Sharks @ Detroit Red Wings Pick: The one thing that we will say about the Sharks is that they have won three in a row in this series dating back to Game 7 of their postseason tussle last year against the Wings. In this stretch includes a win in this building from the beginning of the year, and that’s not something that most teams can boast. The Sharks might be struggling right now, but they’ll get the job done in the Sunday spotlight this weekend.
Free Hockey Pick: San Jose Sharks