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SAP Center’s black cat is bad luck for Predators

The San Jose Sharks have resorted to some rather unorthodox measures to get the upper hand on the Nashville Predators, such as letting loose a black cat on the ice – which could be either a familiar spirit or just a stray. This may or may not make the Sharks the hockey betting favorites, depending on whether or not you’re superstitious. But whether this feline does have supernatural powers or just happened to wander into the arena, the fact remains that nothing has gone the Predator’s way in their NHL playoffs series.

On Sunday night the Sharks took a 2-0 lead in their second round series against the Predators. San Jose scored first with a power play goal late in the second period. Brent Burns fired a point shot that got through to Pekka Rinne after Joe Pavelski deflected it on its way. The goalkeeper couldn’t control the rebound, and Couture took advantage of it. Rinne had one of the best nights of a spotty season, making 22 saves on 24 shots. The Sharks’ goalie did likewise, as Nashville made 39 shots on goal. Mattias Ekholm scored the game-tying goal in the third period, playing a Colin Wilson pass off of his skate before blasting in a wrist shot from high in the zone.

However, less than 5 minutes after Ekholm’s goal, Pavelski got his stick blade on a Matt ‘Grandson’ Nieto rebound and pushed the puck past a Predator and into the empty net. Joe Thornton scored another empty netter with 55 seconds left on the clock. Nashville rallied late and got one in that left the score at a definitive 3-2. The series will now move to Bridgestone Arena in Nashville for games 3 and 4 – which is where San Jose’s luck might run out, unless they bring the cat with them on the road.

The winner of Sharks-Predators series will face the winner of Stars-Blues series, which is tied at 1-1, in the Western Conference Final. If you’re the kind of fan that the Sharks have actually put a hex on the Predators, then you probably should not bet on NHL to begin with – at least not with real money. But if you believe that San Jose will make the most of the momentum their home field advantage has given them, then you might want to put your hockey betting money on them. Let’s not discount the Predators just yet, though. They played better on Sunday than was reflected by score, and the Sharks may have walked away with an underserved victory. If you think about it, these two teams are very alike; after all, what are Sharks but Predators?