Even with losses in four of their last five games the Los Angeles Kings held on and earned the 6th position in the NHL playoffs, finishing two points on top of the Minnesota Wild. The Kings 6th place finish has set up one of the most eagerly anticipated first round playoff matchups, a rematch of last year’s second round series between the Kings and the San Jose Sharks. Last season the Kings defeated the Sharks in seven spirited games, a series were the home team won each matchup. By virtue of an outstanding regular season the Sharks will have home ice advantage.Season Series: The Kings held the advantage in the season series between the two teams, three games to two. The Kings won one of the three games played in San Jose, a 1-0 shutout by Jonathan Quick on January 27th. The Sharks won the last game between the two teams, a 2-1 win on April 3. Other than a 4-1 Kings victory on December 19th all of the games were decided by a goal, indicative of just how closely matched the two teams are. The tight games in the season series mirror last year’s playoff matchup in which all seven games of the series were decided by just a lone goal.
San Jose Sharks- who to watch: The Sharks feature a deep roster of veterans that has been together through several playoff appearances. The aging combination of Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau are still strong performers along with young stars such as Joe Pavelski, Logan Couture and Brent Burns. Pavelski led the Sharks in scoring this season with 41 goals, while Marleau contributed 33. Right Wing Brent Burns, a former defenseman, and Couture give the Sharks tremendous size and speed up front with both scoring over 20 goals this season.Why the Kings will win: The Sharks had a better regular season, but the NHL playoffs are a whole new season and the Los Angeles Kings are built for the playoffs. Stanley Cups are won with good goaltending and the Kings have an advantage in net with Jonathan Quick. Quick has proven time and time again that he performs best in pressure situations and should have the advantage over Antii Niemi. Niemi had a strong overall regular season but has struggled in the month of April. The Sharks will need their veteran goaltender to be in strong form. Offensively the Kings have benefited from the acquisition of Marian Gaborik, a trade deadline pickup from the Columbus Blue Jackets. Garborik has scored 15 points in 18 games as a member of the Kings, giving their offense an additional component. The key for Los Angeles is earning a victory in San Jose to wrest home ice advantage away from the Sharks.
Prediction: Kings in six.
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BY: Chris M.
Here’s a look at the potential Kings opening round opponents:San Jose Sharks: The Kings and Sharks have played five times this season with four of the five games decided by just a single goal. The Kings hold the advantage in the season series, three games to two. Two of the games have gone into overtime, with the Kings winning the opening game between the two teams in overtime and the Sharks winning the second game via a shootout. The two teams played a hotly contested second round playoff series last year, with the Kings coming out on top by virtue of having home ice advantage. Not a single road team won a game in the seven game series. The home ice advantage could prove significant for the Sharks this year who have been outstanding on home ice this year. Colorado Avalanche: The Colorado Avalanche have been a massive surprise this season under first year head coach Patrick Roy, the leading candidate for coach of the year in the NHL this season. The Avalanche has been on fire of late with a six-game winning streak to make a late run toward the top of the Western Conference. The Avalanche has a solid group of talented young forwards, led by center Matt Duchene and winger Gabriel Landeskog. The most exciting Avalanche player is eighteen-year-old center Nathan MacKinnon, the top overall pick in last year’s NHL entry draft. The Avalanche has played two fewer games than the Sharks and Blackhawks. Chicago Blackhawks: Sitting in fifth place in the conference, but just two behind the third place Sharks, are the defending Stanley Cup champions. After a period of rough play the Blackhawks have rebounded of late and are in the midst of a three-game winning streak. Chicago has decided to sit their captain and best player Jonathan Toews for the remaining of the regular season due to an upper body injury. The Kings and Blackhawks met in the playoffs each of the past two seasons. Los Angeles defeated Chicago in 2012 on their way to a Stanley Cup title. The Blackhawks returned the favor, defeating the Kings in five games last June on their way to a title. Chicago is the odds on favorite again to represent the Western Conference in the Stanley Cup final. Anaheim Ducks: There’s an outside chance the Kings could face the Ducks in the opening round, if Anaheim somehow loses the second seed. After leading the Western Conference for the majority of the regular season the Ducks were recently surpassed by the St. Louis Blues. With a game in hand and just three points behind the Blues the Ducks still have an opportunity to earn home ice. If the Ducks somehow fall to third they’ll set up what will be a much anticipated opening round series.
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You can also checkout the best places to sit at the Staples Center for a Kings Game. Chris M.
Here’s a look at what Gaborik will bring to Los Angeles as a member of the Kings:The Kings were aggressive in looking to improve their offense, reportedly making a run at Thomas Vanek, who proved to be too costly of an acquisition. When healthy Gaborik is a dynamic offensive player with tremendous speed and skill, an element the Kings simply don’t have. The former Wild and Rangers star could be the missing element that gives the Kings enough offense to compete with the Chicago Blackhawks and Anaheim Ducks who the Kings face on April 12th the final game of the 2013-2014 NHL regular season.. The presence of Gaborik, combined with the Kings elite defensive unit and goaltender Jonathan Quick, could make the Kings a very difficult team to beat come playoff time. The Kings are expected to team Gaborik up with Anze Kopitar, potentially creating an elite combination that will benefit both players. The Kings are banking on recapturing the momentum they had back in 2012 when they acquired Jeff Carter from the same Columbus Blue Jackets. Los Angeles traded for Carter and then went on a hot streak that eventually culminated in the organizations first Stanley Cup Championship. With the Kings in the midst of a five-game winning streak the addition of Gaborik could very well vault Los Angeles up the Western Conference standings.
One potential issue with Gaborik is his ability to stay healthy. During his tenure with the Minnesota Wild Gaborik was often injured, a tendency that didn’t carry over to his time in New York but popped up once again this season in Columbus. He missed six weeks early in the season with a knee strain and then suffered a broken collarbone, two injuries that have left him largely ineffective this season. Gaborik returned on February 27th versus the New Jersey Devils and scored in his first goal.In addition to Gaborik the Kings also traded for young Buffalo Sabres defenseman Brayden McNabb. The Kings sent prospects Hudson Fasching and Nicholas Deslaurier to Buffalo for McNabb and Jonathon Parker. McNabb is a big, 6’4”, defenseman who will boost the Kings already formidable defensive depth. The move to trade Fasching, who’s had a tremendous season this year for the Minnesota Gophers, will be interesting to watch over the next several years. After a difficult draft season that saw him fall out of the first round to a fourth round pick, Fasching has improved his stock once again and was arguably the best player for the United States in the recent World Juniors.
You can see the newest member of the LA Kings when they return to the Staples Center on March 13th to face the Toronto Maple Leafs which is also Jim Fox Bobblehead night. LA Kings Tickets for Bobblehead night start out at $55 per ticket and go up to $175 for center ice seats.
The Los Angeles Kings are on FIRE this year! The 1967 founded NHL team has never won a stanley cup and has only one other Conference Championship before this year and are just three wins away from their first Stanley Cup win ever. It was an unbelievable sports season for Los Angeles in the 2012 professional sports; both NBA teams made it to the finals and for a moment all three teams were championship contenders.
The Los Angeles Kings became the first team in the history of professional Hockey to win their first nine road games in a post-season. If they win Game 2 on Saturday at the Prudential Center versus the New Jersey Devils, the Kings will be tied for an NHL record of most road wins in a post season. It also means when they do head home to the Los Angeles Staples Center the Los Angeles Kings will be not only enjoying a home-rink advantage but will be encouraged by a 2-0 starting point.
Wednesday nights game Kings vs. Devils was an intense 60 minutes of non-stop nail biting that led the Kings to a 2-1 win that included once again overtime where the Kings stood to lose everything. However, even Devils coach said his team didn’t deserve the win against the Kings as the Devil’s only goal came from a lucky bounce off of Kings defensive Slava Voynov. The Kings have had a ferocious season with flawless transitions and quick breaks out of the box and of course star player Jonathan Quick always at the ready to make his big stops. Now Kings fans gear up as the Kings grind out one more away game before returning to the Los Angeles Staples Center at LA Live! Check out www.BarrysTickets.com for your Los Angeles Kings Tickets and all Sports Tickets today!