San Jose Sharks vs. Los Angeles Kings - 4/20/14
Los Angeles Kings (46-28-8) at San Jose Sharks (51-22-9)
NHL Hockey: Sunday, April 20, 2014 at 10:00 pm (SAP Center)
The Line: San Jose Sharks -150 / Los Angeles Kings +130 --- Over/Under: 5 See the Latest Odds
San Jose looks to sweep the first two games at home on Sunday while the Kings look to head home with the series even at a game apiece.
The Kings were a trendy pick but a lot of people to do some damage in the Western Conference playoffs this season and while there is still a ton of hockey left to be played they certainly didn’t look the part for the majority of game one against San Jose. Los Angeles is a very physical team that relies a lot on their size and while the Sharks aren’t exactly the fastest team in the league they definitely utilized their speed advantage in the first period where they built up a commanding 3-0 lead. Los Angeles made a game of it in the final 30 minutes but ultimately their mountain was too steep to climb and the Sharks buried an empty netter taking the series opener by a 6-3 final. Jonathan Quick, who needs to be a difference maker in this series, was average at best in game one and was replaced by backup Martin Jones and while Quick is likely to get thrown back in tonight he will be on a short leash as the Kings can ill afford another early game deficit.
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The Sharks have been perennial contenders for the last 10 seasons but could never get over the hump into the Cup finals and have developed a reputation for being playoff choke artists. Well, they looked anything but on Friday night as they came out flying and shocked everyone but themselves with how well they played against a very good Kings team in the early going of the contest. While San Jose caught some big breaks including a third and momentum defining goal in the final seconds of the first period, they held up their end of the bargain and put on a show for what was an excited Sharks faithful who are hungry for a Stanley Cup victory. San Jose enters game two as pretty heavy favourites and after the effort they put up in game one there is no denying why but to me this is a series that is going to go the distance and while the Kings have yet to play a game at home and haven’t started to panic I think they would love to steal this one and head back to the Staples Center with some confidence. I like LA here.