Dallas Stars at San Jose Sharks (G5) (-145, 5u -125) (Versus TV): Poor, poor San Jose. Every year it strengthens its’ roster to try and be able to compete in the postseason and the many speed bumps that await them in the rugged Western Conference and yet it seems every year it gets bounced from the playoffs in the second round. This year will be no exception with the dorsaled-ones losing the first three games of this West semifinal before salvaging a one-goal win in Big D in Game 4 on Wednesday night (2-1).
Tonight the series is back in California where the Stars have played like stars, going a mind-boggling 8-0-1 in their last nine skates against San Jose in the HP Pavilion where they’ve outscored the Sharks, 31-16. Dallas goaltender Marty Turco (7-3, 1.88 GAA postseason) has been absolutely phenomenal against San Jose, going 20-7-1-4 (.913 save percentage) against his conference rivals lifetime.
So why buck the trend? We’re not going to. Ultimate respect for the Sharks who had a phenomenal end (18-2-2) to its’ regular season but that old playoff monkey seems firmly attached to that one team almost all the experts – including ESPN hockey guru Barry Melrose – picked to win it all, the Sharks. With so much pressure to win this game and force a Game 6 back in Texas, San Jose may just be its’ own worst enemy. And after ousting the Stanley Cup champions from southern California (Ducks) in Round 1 in upset fashion, expect healthy underdog Dallas to do the same with the kids from northern California here in Round 2 with this low-scoring, tight-checking game being the clincher. STARS +135.