The Los Angeles Kings were considered dead and buried after four games of the Western Conference Quarterfinals against the San Jose Sharks. However, the No. 7 seed out West was able to stave off elimination once on Saturday night in Game 4, and if it can do so again back at home in Game 6, it will set up a do or die Game 7 for Wednesday night.
Jonathan Quick is a hero right now in Tinseltown. Quick is once again proving that he can put this team on his back and lead it to victory without all that much help. With LA’s back to the wall, one of the best net minders in the league came up with a whopping 51 saves on 52 shots to be the top star of the game in Game 4. He now has a .988 save percentage in two wins in these playoffs, and the argument could be made that this showing with one goal allowed was more impressive than the shutout that he had in Game 2, also here in San Jose. Offensively, there really weren’t all that many opportunities, but the team capitalized early and often to take the faithful at the Shark Tank out of the game. This time though, the 3-0 lead stood up. LA struck three times on its first four shots of the game. The bad news though, is that it took almost nine minutes to fire off a total of four shots, and there were only two more shots in the period and 19 more shots for the rest of the game.
Head Coach Todd McLellan has to be absolutely furious right now with the way that his team played in Game 4, marking the second time that it has been beaten at HP Pavilion in the playoffs. There’s never an excuse to lose a game in which you have a whopping 30 more shots than your foe, especially in the playoffs. We tend to believe that we have seen the last of Antti Niemi for quite awhile, as he was pulled for the second time in a matter of just three games after allowing those three goals on four shots in the first period. Antero Niittymaki came in off of the bench and played relatively well, stopping all 18 shots that he faced, marking his second straight good effort in relief of a struggling Niemi. The team just has to shoot the puck better as well. Patrick Marleau did put the biscuit in the basket in the second period, but aside from that, there were a slew of players that took at least four shots that were stoned by Quick.
San Jose Sharks vs. Los Angeles Kings Pick: There’s just no way that a team can be that good for that long in a game and not win the series. The Kings are just 7-18 in their last 25 home games against San Jose, including going 0-2 in this series. In fact, the road team has won four straight now in this series dating back to Game 2, which is more than enough for us to back the Sharks to close out this series for our Stanley Cup picks.
Aaron Ryan has been in the sportswriting biz since the late-90s, and he has worked side by side with some of the best and brightest in sports gambling. Always searching for the best trends in sports, Andrew uses his brilliant math mind to his advantage to beat the books.