Will host Nashville even it up vs. San Jose?

Will host Nashville even it up vs. San Jose?

San Jose certainly didn’t resemble the NHL’s best road team on Tuesday. Nonetheless, it gets another chance to take a commanding 3-1 series over Nashville this evening.

The Sharks and Predators drop the puck at 9 p.m. ET in Game 4 of the Western Conference semifinals. Online sports book Bovada.lv thinks the Preds will protect home ice, giving them odds of -105 to handle their business at Bridgestone Arena. San Jose, meanwhile, enters another Music City bout as a -115 underdog.

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Peter DeBoer’s crew went 28-10-3 away from SAP Center during the regular season. But Nashville blitzed the opposition two nights ago, 4-1, surging ahead in the final two periods. The biggest difference: Peter Laviolette’s squad held the Sharks’ monstrous power play in check. After allowing six goals in their previous 18 short-handed situations, the Predators killed off all four San Jose chances.

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Joe Pavelski (10 playoff points) and company are now 1-6-1 in the past eight trips to the Volunteer State. Trouble, however, could be on the horizon for the hosts. The Preds carry a 1-6 record in their last seven Game 4s and have dropped their past five of those at home. James Neal, Filip Forsberg and the rest of the gang must strike first, or else the visitors will apply the clamps and head back to the West Coast on a high note. We believe such a development to be inevitable anyway. Take the Sharks in a very tight affair.

THURSDAY NHL FREE PICK: SHARKS +1.5

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