Who snares Game 7 between Sharks, Preds?

Who takes Game 7 between Sharks, Preds?

Last night, the Blues clinched their spot in the Western Conference finals by jettisoning the Stars. Between San Jose and Nashville, which squad will join the Note this weekend?

We’ll know once tonight’s decisive Game 7 goes final. Three days after engaging in an overtime thriller, the Sharks and Predators drop the puck at 9 p.m. ET. Oddsmakers at online sports book Bovada.lv prefer the hosts in this spot. Peter DeBoer’s players are garnering odds of -170 to advance, while Peter Laviolette’s gang enters as a +150 underdog.

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Interestingly, Game 6 marked San Jose’s ninth defeat in the past 12 games with a chance to eliminate an opponent. Viktor Arvidsson pushed one past Martin Jones in the extra session, securing a 4-3 victory for Nashville. It was but the latest twist in a fascinating series that will bring the semifinal round to a close.

The Preds find themselves in such a spot thanks to their ability to capture all three contests at Bridgestone Arena. As for the Sharks, they now retreat to the building in which they posted an unflattering 18-20-3 mark during the regular campaign. If San Jose hopes for more success at SAP Center, it must lean on a power-play unit spearheaded by Joe Pavelski, Brent Burns and Joe Thornton. The Pacific Division heavyweight has converted nine of 24 chances with the man advantage in seven playoff victories, as opposed to a two-for-15 rate in four losses.

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Nashville goalie Pekka Rinne should fully anticipate an onslaught of pucks sent in his direction. As the favorites, the Sharks will aim to initiate the action in a familiar setting. If Rinne can control his share of rebounds, defensemen such as Shea Weber and Roman Josi should be able to clear the front of the net with at least some degree of regularity. With games featuring a higher-scoring bent than usual, though, we predict that each club will amass a plethora of goals.

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