Preds to spoil Sharks' home-ice advantage?

Preds to spoil Sharks' home-ice advantage?

After participating in perhaps the most thrilling clash of the playoffs so far, the Sharks and Predators face an ultra-quick turnaround entering tonight’s Game 3 of the Western Conference semifinals.

The puck drops at 10 p.m. ET out West, with the series knotted up at two games apiece. Handicappers at online sports give the hosts odds of -175 to pull back into the driver’s seat. Nashville, meanwhile, enters as a +155 underdog.

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Thursday’s triple-overtime thriller produced a 4-3 triumph for the Preds. San Jose blew a third-period lead, and then Mike Fisher potted his second goal of the tilt to send the Bridgestone Arena faithful home elated. Netminder Pekka Rinne recovered from a rough spell at SAP Center by outdueling Martin Jones in each of the past two affairs.

Superior special teams also aided the veteran goalie immensely. Peter Laviolette’s club did a much better job of neutralizing the Sharks’ studded power play in the Music City. Following a torrid start to the series, Joe Pavelski and Joe Thornton were largely held off the scoresheet in the heartland.

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One can expect a surge in energy now from the tandem, however, now that the matchup has swung back to California. Peter DeBoer’s squad fared better than any other Western Conference outfit down the stretch, and an overall talent disparity still exists here. We should see why in several hours.

SATURDAY NHL FREE PICK: SHARKS -1.5

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