Sharks, Kings Seek Proof in Playoffs
Two teams with things to prove open their postseasons Thursday when the San Jose Sharks travel to Los Angeles to take on the Kings. The Kings, who missed the playoffs last year, need to prove they can regain the Stanley Cup they won in 2014. The Sharks, who also missed postseason last year, need to prove they can overcome the King. Here's the matchup:
The Kings come in disappointed in losing their chance to win the Pacific Division on the last day of the regular season, finishing with 102 points, one behind Anaheim. LA was 4-5-1 down the stretch. The Sharks earned third place in the division with 98 points and were 5-5 in the last 10 regular season games. San Jose led the regular season series 3-1-1, including a 5-2 win in their last meeting two weeks ago in San Jose. The Sharks will seek to avenge a 2014 playoffs when they blew a 3-0 series lead to the Kings.
The Sharks have one of the best scoring offenses in the NHL, carrying a 2.9 goals per game average. The reason for that is a couple of centers who have blown up defenses this year, Joe Thornton and Joe Pavelski. Together they have 160 points on the year. The Kings held a 2.7 GPG average this year, and their team leader is in a bit of slump as he enters postseason. Center Anze Kopitar had 25 goals and 74 points on the season, but he hasn't put the biscuit in the basket in his last eight outings and only has one goal in his last 10 games. Center Jeff Carter has picked up the slack, racking up six goals and four assists in his last eight. Tyler Toffoli leads team in goals with 31 and has played well down the stretch.
San Jose has a 2.5 goals against average, but they've been missing a key defensive starter for the last three weeks of the season. Marc-Edouard Vlasic is expected to return to action Thursday, and how he performs will be crucial to the Sharks' hopes. In goal, the Sharks are working on a nice tandem. Martin Jones (2.27 GAA) has the experience and will start. But he had a couple of worrisome losses down the stretch, surrendering four a five goals. Backup James Reimer may be secret weapon. Picked up at the trade deadline, he has three shutouts in his last seven appearances. Los Angeles sports a 2.3 GAA, with Jonathan Quick (2.22 GAA) standing tall in goal. Drew Doughty will have a key role in the series, too, getting a head-to-head assignment against Thornton.
McDonald’s Player of the Year (as voted by fans) – Drew Doughty pic.twitter.com/LB2RrJWsjV— LAKingsPR (@LAKingsPR) April 10, 2016
The Kings will be the likely favorite for the series, but there's something about revenge and redemption that tells me the Sharks will be a handful. Sharks goalkeeper Jones is also a former backup for the Kings. I think that LA -130 would be a fair number for the opener on Thursday.
25% Bonus For Life
Whenever your account is running on empty, use promo code FORLIFE when you make a qualifying deposit of $50 or more to earn a 25% Sportsbook Bonus. To get the most bang-for-your-buck, you can get up to $1,000 worth of free plays on every qualifying reload 24/7/365.
Mobile Betting $50 Free Play
Haven't tried mobile betting yet? Now is the time to try. Receive up to a $50.00 free play when you place your first-ever Mobile sports bet. All you have to do is place a sports bet from your smartphone or tablet. If your bet wins, congratulations: you are already scoring a profit from Mobile betting! However, if your bet loses, we’ll reimburse your bet with up to a $50.00 free play. You've got nothing to lose - literally - so take advantage of the offer today!
$25 Free Live In-Game Betting
Ever miss a kick-off or lay off a winning pick? Everyone has. With our cutting edge Live In-Game Betting platform, you can get in the action as it unfolds in real-time. Try it out risk-free now. For a limited time, we give you a free $25 bet* if your first bet using our new Live In-Game Betting platform is not a winner.