Los Angeles Kings (44-26-6) at San Jose Sharks (48-20-9)
|Date & Time||Thursday April 3, 2014, 10:30 PM (EDT)|
The Line: San Jose Sharks -163 / Los Angeles Kings +148 --- Over/Under: 5
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The Kings play their second divisional contest in as many nights as they leave the Staples Centre after a game with Phoenix to take on the Sharks in San Jose.
The Kings continue to prove they are going to be a tough out in this year’s playoffs and with the regular season drawing near a close and the playoff matchups starting to take shape Los Angeles will soon have a better idea who they will face in round one. LA won the Cup two seasons ago and still have the majority of that team intact plus some other additions including Tyler Toffoli and Marian Gaborik who gives the Kings another dimension up front. Los Angeles is playing in a back to back after taking on the Coyotes at the Staples Center last night so I imagine that Martin Jones will be getting the nod against the Sharks in this one as Jonathan Quick manned the crease last night. The Kings are pretty heavy underdogs in this spot which to mean makes no sense as they and San Jose are very close in terms of depth and to me whoever advances out of the Pacific division should be the representative in the Stanley Cup finals.
The Sharks have gone relatively unnoticed this season as they haven’t been blowing away the competition as regularly as we are used to seeing and some other special efforts across the league has drawn away some of the spotlight as well but I think they like it that way. San Jose is a very good team with a ton of veteran leaders and a nice balance of offensive production but their blue line is their strong point as Dan Boyle and Marc Edouard Vlasic anchor a very solid defensive unit. Antii Niemi continues to be underrated and is one of very few goalies in the league who has a Stanley Cup ring which is intangible to success in the postseason and something that should give the Sharks the edge this year. Keeping tonight’s matchup in mind it is tough for me to pull the trigger on the Kings as a heavy underdog as the Sharks will be well rested and there is no value in taking San Jose except for on the puck line. I will compromise a little bit and recommend a Sharks victory in regulation.