NHL Betting: Free-scoring Sharks can sink their teeth into Columbus

Columbus - San Jose

Despite ultimately having different realistic aims for the campaign the fact this is a clash between a pair of clubs heating up at the right time makes it one to watch.

A 3-2 victory for the Sharks last month seems close, but in reality they dominated for long periods as they have many other teams through retaining offensive zone possession and ended up outshooting the Jackets 47-21.

Not only do San Jose have a top five penalty kill but they also have taken fewer minor penalties than any other team, Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Justin Braun play their toughest minutes on defence and both are extremely well disciplined.

Up front they've netted 15 times in three games over the last week, and if the Blue Jackets can grab the first goal then this potentially becomes a real end-to-end treat. Artem Anisimov has stepped up back in Ohio with six tallies in seven though netminder Sergei Bobrovsky has perhaps been a little more busy than they'd like to maintain their form.

It's difficult to dismiss Columbus but they haven't beaten anyone on the Sharks during this latest run and only one playoff team, so I'll take San Jose at 2.40.


Tampa Bay - Florida

The NHL's Florida derby features tonight and neither is in the best of shape, Tampa Bay last won 12 days ago and they've each taken only 6sixpoints from their last 20 available.

It's a more worrying trend for the Lightning as they are actually contending for the post-season and now their advantage back to 9th is a meagre four points, goalie Ben Bishop could only hold shoulder the load for so long and a couple of injuries amongst their defence mean that goals against average is creeping up at a rate their offence has been unable to counter.

In Florida's case it's more about their inconsistencies and interim coach Peter Horachek has had as much difficulty solving their lack of scoring as his predecessor. Three games into his comeback Steven Stamkos is without a point but can draw on six points from two games with the Cats back in October.

Tampa are actually 3-0 up in the season series and two of those victories were by a convincing five goal margin.

As is clear times are tough for both of these clubs and I think the price is right to take on the tie at 3.70, if anything the Panthers could be worth a shot too out at 3.75 as they haven't been averse to causing shocks on the road.

Best Bet: San Jose Sharks to win at 2.40