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San Jose Sharks vs. Los Angeles Kings Predictions, Picks and Preview – 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs – Western Conference First Round Game One – April 14, 2016

San Jose Sharks vs. Los Angeles Kings Predictions, Picks and Preview – 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs – Western Conference First Round Game One – April 14, 2016

For the fourth time over the last six seasons, the San Jose Sharks and the Los Angeles Kings will face each other in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. This constant pairing pretty much set the template for what many consider be the most heated rivalry in the opening round of this year’s postseason.

Los Angeles won the last two playoff series against San Jose, yet both of those sets went the entire seven-game distance. Can the Sharks avenge those crushing Game 7 losses of past by taking the opening first-round bout this Thursday night, or will the Kings prove to be too much to overcome once again?

Let’s break down this thrilling 2-versus-3 Pacific Division showdown below. And for even more in-depth Western Conference playoff coverage, check out our Game 1 previews for St. Louis vs. Chicago, Minnesota vs. Dallas and Nashville vs. Anaheim right after this.

NHL News and Predictions

San Jose Sharks vs. Los Angeles Kings Game 1 Preview

Where: Staples Center, Los Angeles

When: Thursday, April 14, 10:30 PM ET

Line: San Jose Sharks at Los Angeles Kings – view all NHL lines

TV Broadcast: CNBC

Betting on the San Jose Sharks


Last season, the San Jose Sharks missed the playoffs for the first time in over a decade. Now the Sharks are back with a vengeance, and they’ll even look to exorcise even more playoff demons by facing the Kings in the first round – the same team that eliminated them from their last two playoff appearances.

If the regular season is any indication, San Jose appears destined to finally get over that dreaded L.A. hump after going 3-1-1 against their division rival this campaign. The team even won both contests held in Staples Center, and cleanly won the final season-series meeting on March 28 at the Shark Tank, 5-2, to clinch a playoff berth and also snap its three-game skid at the time.

The Sharks have taken huge bites out of their opponents with some fantastic offense. They are third in the league with an average of 2.89 goals scored per contest, and third with a solid 22.6-percent power play conversion.

Apart from having a solid first line of attackers in Joe Pavelski, Joe Thornton and Tomas Hertl, San Jose also has a superb scoring defenseman in Brent Burns bolstering its firepower from the blue line. The heavily-bearded All-Star scored a goal and got an assist in that March 28 game against the Kings, and was as hot as they come this past week with five more assists and seven points total. Burns also led all defensemen in the NHL this season with his 27 goals; 11 of which came via power play.

The Sharks have 28 road wins – the most by any team this regular season – to prove that they’re ever so deadly, regardless of which team is holding home-ice advantage. That fact will definitely go a long way towards pulling off the Game 1 upset of the Kings this Thursday as well.

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Betting on the Los Angeles Kings

Kings vs Sharks Quick vs Couture

Is the 4-3 overtime loss to the Winnipeg Jets this past Saturday a major cause of concern for the Los Angeles Kings, or was that defeat really by design?

The Kings failed to win the Pacific Division title after the Anaheim Ducks won their own season finale on Sunday, but we’re betting that the boys from SoCal intentionally wanted San Jose over Nashville as their first-round opponent in the playoffs. Remember: the Kings became just the fourth team in NHL history to come back from a 0-3 postseason deficit, and that was against none other than the Sharks in the 2012-13 conference semifinals.

Unlike their Bay Area rivals, the Kings make use of stellar defense to win games by way of standout goalie Jonathan Quick manning the steel posts. Quick notched a career-high 40 wins this season, and also set the record for most career shutouts by an American-born player during this campaign. The former Conn-Smythe Trophy winner’s dazzling postseason resume also greatly trumps that of San Jose’s Martin Jones, who once backed-up Quick in Los Angeles and only has 56 total minutes of playoff experience.

Los Angeles’ offense is no slouch either, thanks to a resurgent Anze Kopitar. The Slovenian center racked up 74 points this season to lead all Kings in that department for the ninth-consecutive year.

Kopitar even finished the regular season with the second-best plus-minus in the league with a plus-34, so getting him going in the playoffs will be very pivotal, especially against San Jose. The last time that the Sharks won a playoff series against the Kings was back in the 2010-11 season, when Kopitar was physically absent throughout the entire series.

And let’s not forget that the Kings just tied a franchise record with 26 regular-season wins. This statistic should serve as the perfect foil for the Sharks’ own terrific record on the road heading into Thursday night’s clash at Staples.

Writer’s Prediction

The road team prevails yet again; San Jose takes Game 1 with a final score of 4-2.




Written by Mark

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