San Jose Sharks (51-22-9) at Los Angeles Kings (46-28-8)
|Date & Time||Thursday April 24, 2014, 10:30 PM (EDT)|
The Line: Los Angeles Kings -110 / San Jose Sharks -110 --- Over/Under: 5
|TV Channel||Stream NHL games all season on ESPN+ for only $4.99 a month. Sign up now!|
The Kings look to avoid the sweep as they host the Sharks at the Staples Center for game four on Thursday night.
The San Jose Sharks will look to avenge last season’s seven-game opening round exit at the hands of the Kings with a four game sweep in this year’s rematch in what has been one of the more disappointing series’ in the first round. The Sharks continue to be an underrated team through their first three games of this series as many people have their minds focused on the Ducks and Blues but you have to remember this Sharks team was a win away from claiming the Pacific division and were one of the most consistent teams all year long with the exception of a bit of a speed bump at the end of the regular season. Much criticism poured in on Sharks goalie Antii Niemi who was ridiculed for his lackluster save percentage in the final couple weeks of the season leading to speculation that head coach Todd MacLellan may opt to go with Alex Stalock instead who at the time was playing just a little bit better. San Jose has come out firing against the Kings and are now just a win away from sending their instate rivals packing in what would be a huge shock in the matter in which it was completed.
The Kings played a heck of a game on Tuesday night in what was surely one of the more exciting games this season and to me they deserved a better fate as they were all over the Sharks in overtime and if not for a fluky goal from Patrick Marleau they could be back in this series. Los Angeles went stride for stride with San Jose but gave up a third period tally that forced overtime and as mentioned an errant tip shot that bounced over Jonathan Quick was the decision maker in an otherwise fantastic game. The Kings are staying confident though as Mike Richards has come out and stated that the team still believes they can win the series and that they have gone on longer win streaks than four this season making it very feasible. However, this is the Stanley Cup playoffs and there is a reason only a handful of teams have ever come back from an 0-3 deficit to win a series and while Los Angeles is very good I don’t see the Sharks succumbing to that fate. With that being said, I think the Kings have a great shot at staying alive here with or without Jonathan Quick and I think they salvage some dignity here and avoid losing on home ice.