Los Angeles vs San Jose NHL Odds Analysis
The Pacific Division’s runner-up (Los Angeles) and third-place finisher (San Jose) take the ice in the first round of the 2016 Stanley Cup playoffs. The first game takes place Thursday night in Los Angeles. Two years ago, these same Sharks held a 3-0 series lead on the Kings, only to see the Kings win the series in seven games. Now the Sharks are the ones with a chance to deliver a resounding upset. Both of these teams missed the postseason last year, so the Sharks have been waiting a long time for this redemption. The Kings bring a stellar core of Jonathan Quick in goal, as well as Drew Doughty and Anze Kopitar, making a team that could very well go back to the Stanley Cup finals after its championship two years ago. Find out the latest NHL betting odds here.
Los Angeles Kings vs San Jose Sharks NHL Odds Analysis
Why should you bet on Los Angeles to win?
Doughty has led a solid Los Angeles defensive corps, shutting down the top scorers of the opposition all season long. He will key on veteran center Joe Thornton with the Sharks, the ageless skater who has had another terrific year. If Doughty can manage Thornton, the Kings will have a lot better chance of advancing. Of course, it will also help if Quick can outduel his protege, Martin Jones, who will be in the other goal. Having Jeff Carter and Kopitar as the centers on the scoring lines is a big help as well. If Jones falters, the Sharks would have to bring in James Reimer, who is not nearly as skilled as Jones. The Kings should benefit from the absence (or at least the limited play) of defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic, a key shutdown player who has been out since March 17 with a lower-body injury.
Why should you put your money on the Sharks to win?
A lot of people talk about how great the Kings and Ducks are, but San Jose only finished four points behind Los Angeles in the final regular season standings, and they went 3-1-1 in the five meetings between the two teams, winning the last one, 5-2, on March 28 in San Jose. The Sharks have the third-ranked power play in the league this season, so if they can get the Kings to commit some penalties early in games, that power play could rock the Kings and put the Sharks on the road to an upset. The Kings have not played good defense down the stretch, including the season finale when they were up 3-0 on the lowly Winnipeg Jets at home but then lost the game 4-3 in a shootout — and lost the Pacific Division title to the Ducks. The Kings are known for solid defense, and they need to get back to that, or else San Jose will be a real threat to win.
Expert Pick and Final Series Prediction
Jones did have a terrific first season as an NHL starter. The Kings have the advantage statistically, but it’s important to note how much momentum affects a hockey team — and a playoff series. Given the defensive struggles that the Kings have had — and the fact that the Sharks beat them three out of five times — I’m predicting San Jose in six.