Pittsburgh (13-8-2) at San Jose (14-9-0)
When: Tuesday, December 1st 2015
Where: SAP Center, San Jose, CA
Time: 10:35 ET | TV: NBCS
The Pittsburgh Penguins begin a tough four-game West Coast trip tonight when they visit the red-hot San Jose Sharks. The Penguins have lost three of their last four games that begin on November 21st with a home loss to San Jose 3-1. Despite their recent struggles, stars Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby are starting to fill the stat sheet. Malkin scored both of Pittsburgh’s goals on Saturday in a 3-2 shootout loss to Edmonton and has 7 goals and 3 assists in his last six games. Crosby, who got off to a very slow start this season, has scored three goals and three assists in his current five-game point streak. The Penguins have not won in San Jose since 1997 and Crosby has just one goal and a minus-8 rating in his 10 games versus the Sharks. Goalie Marc-Andre Fleury has also struggled against the Sharks with a career 3-4-3 mark including taking the loss in the teams’ first meeting this season. Pittsburgh is currently the seventh seed in the Eastern Conference playoff race, 1 point ahead of Boston and 2 points clear of New Jersey.
The Sharks come into this contest pretty hot, winning 7 of their last 8 including a remarkable 6-0 road trip that ended in a 5-3 win at Columbus last Sunday. They dropped their next game at home to Chicago, but came back with a 5-2 over Carolina on Saturday. San Jose has just four wins in ten games at home in the SAP Center. Defenseman Brent Burns scored two goals Patrick Marleau notched a pair of assists in the first meeting between these two teams to begin their respective four-game point streaks. Burns has four goals and two assists during that stretch while Marleau has three goals and four assists. Former Penguin Paul Martin had a goal and an assist in the first meeting, but has been held scoreless in the last three games. San Jose has four power-play goals in the last three games and has killed off all nine short-handed opportunities in that stretch as well. Their power-play still ranks 25th in the league at just 16.4%, but they are ranked third in face-offs won at 52.5%. Martin Jones is expected to be in goal tonight and brings a 2.13 goals against average and .925 SV% into the contest along with three shutouts.
Despite the Sharks struggles at home this season and the fact that Malkin and Crosby are heating up, I have to go with the hot team. San Jose is laying a pretty small number at home and I can’t pass it up.
Pick: Sharks -114