Sharks about to land knockout blow vs. Preds?

Sharks about to land knockout blow vs. Preds?

Joe Thornton’s efforts continue to be of the jumbo-sized variety. Can the Sharks’ longtime anchor at center play an even bigger role, though, in Game 3 of the Western Conference semifinals vs. Nashville?

San Jose would love nothing more, especially considering its opportunity to snag a commanding 3-0 series lead. Oddsmakers nonetheless like the host squad tonight. Online sports book Bovada.lv gives the Predators odds of -115 to break through at Bridgestone Arena, whereas Peter DeBoer’s club is a 1.5-goal underdog.

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After the events of the first two contests, it’s hard to envision a scenario in which the Preds claim a period, let alone an entire affair. On the heels of an 82-point regular season, Thornton’s victimizing Barry Trotz’s bunch in much the same manner. The cagey veteran notched a goal and added an assist over the weekend. He also received ample support from Joe Pavelski. The 10th-year standout potted his sixth tally of the playoffs in that 3-2 win for the Sharks.

In order for Nashville to compete, goalie Pekka Rinne must flash the All-Star form of which he’s capable. The Predators fell on Sunday despite holding a 39-25 shot advantage. A clutch save here or there could swing the momentum in a hurry.

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We’d be lying, however, if we failed to disclose our complete and utter admiration for San Jose. This team keeps producing at the highest level and has arguably grabbed frontrunner status out West. DeBoer’s steady hand will guard against any sort of letdown on the road.

TUESDAY NHL FREE PICK: SHARKS +1.5

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