Burns crafting season for the ages
San Jose sits atop the Pacific Division with 83 points, five more than the second-place Oilers. But can Brent Burns & Co. take down the class of the Western Conference tonight?
In the weekend’s premier matchup, Minnesota welcomes the Sharks to town at 6 p.m. ET. Online sports book Bovada.lv gives the host bunch odds of -140 to emerge victorious. Peter DeBoer’s troops, on the other hand, enter Xcel Energy Center as +110 underdogs.
Thanks in large part to Burns’ tremendous production along the blue line, San Jose (38-18-7) has become a second-half juggernaut. The Sharks have gone 5-0-2 since Feb. 12, with their Norris Trophy front-runner tallying five goals and five assists over the same span. Burns’ 67 points are good for fourth in the league, trailing only Connor McDavid, Patrick Kane and Sidney Crosby.
Bruce Boudreau oversees a slightly more balanced attack in St. Paul. Seeking to surge past Washington for the NHL’s best record, the Wild (41-15-6) even added reinforcements like Martin Hanzal and Ryan White at the trade deadline. We wouldn’t dare forget about Vezina contender Devan Dubynk, either, who boasts a 2.03 GAA and .933 save percentage.
Minnesota barely edged San Jose on Jan. 5, 5-4, as center Mikko Koivu potted a pair of markers late in the third period. As the regular season winds down, though, both clubs are certainly tightening the defensive screws. Bank on a 2-1 or 3-2 affair.
SUNDAY NHL FREE PICK: SHARKS/WILD UNDER 5.5 GOALS