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Jets, Sharks In Tough Thursday Night As They Cling To Western Conference Wild Card Spots

Posted by on 2/18/2015 6:50:38 PM

With the defending Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings winning five straight and the Minnesota Wild posting an 8-1-1 record over their past 10 games the Western Conference playoff race has really heated up over the past couple of weeks. The pressure is on the Winnipeg Jets and San Jose Sharks as they attempt to hold on to the Wild Card spots and both teams will be faced with a tough test on Thursday night. Here is a quick look at three smart bets for Thursday night’s NHL action.

Winnipeg Jets @ Washington Capitals

Thursday, 7:00 PM ET

The injury bug has certainly taken its toll on the Jets as there has been no update given for two of their top-six forwards in Drew Stafford and Mathieu Perreault. Winnipeg has overcome injuries all year but it certainly won’t get any easier on them against a tough opponent on the road this Thursday. The Capitals are coming off a big win over the Pittsburgh Penguins and only a single point separates second from fourth in a close Metropolitan division playoff race. Alex Ovechkin has retaken his spot atop the NHL scoring lead with 36 goals on the year and he will be eager to add to that total with the shorthanded Jets in town.

Pick: Washington

Vancouver Canucks @ New York Rangers

Thursday, 7:00 PM ET

The Canucks are just a point up on San Jose for second in the Pacific division and with only three points separating second from fourth in the division things are bound to get interesting over the next couple of weeks. Vancouver has been an excellent road team all year but they face a tough test at New York on Thursday night. The Rangers are n the midst of their own playoff race with Cam Talbot leading the way in goal after Henrik Lundqvist suffered a dangerous neck injury. The Rangers have posted a 17-7-4 record on home ice this season and will bring the same sense of urgency to the rink as the Canucks as they try to move one step closer to securing a playoff spot in front of their fans.

Pick: New York

San Jose Sharks @ Dallas Stars

Thursday, 8:30 PM ET

Trade rumors continue to circle a Sharks team that is clearly not ready to contend for a Stanley Cup and a 5-1 loss to the Nashville Predators on Tuesday night certainly didn’t help their situation. San Jose has several areas of need including in goal and it has been confirmed that the team is shopping goaltender Antti Niemi in an effort to land a top-six forward. The Stars will enter this game four points back of the Sharks for a playoff spot but they are also dealing with their own issues after it was announced that Tyler Seguin will miss more than a month with a knee injury. Dallas still has plenty of firepower up front but they have been very average at home all year and it won’t get any easier playing against a desperate San Jose team without one of their superstar forwards

Pick: San Jose

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