NHL Betting Preview: San Jose Sharks at LA Kings

By: Adam Markowitz | Sunday, April 24, 2011

For a team that was left for dead going into Game 5 of the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs, the Los Angeles Kings looked awfully solid on Saturday night against the San Jose Sharks.

The boys from Tinseltown fended off one elimination attempt with a 3-1 win at the Shark Tank in Game 5. Now the scene shifts back to Staples Center for Monday night's Game 6 in Stanley Cup playoff betting action. TSN has the telecast starting at 7:00 p.m. (PT) with the Sharks 130 favorites and five goals for Monday's total.

The road team has won four straight games in this series, something that is normally unheard of in any type of a postseason. However, this year, it's seemingly commonplace, as visitors have gone 23-16 in the playoffs coming into play on Easter Sunday.

During the regular season, the Kings won 25 games at home against 21 on the road, while San Jose won 25 at HP Pavilion and 23 as the guests.

Give the Sharks credit, though. They really tried everything they could to finish off Los Angeles on Saturday. They took a whopping 52 shots on goal, including at least 15 in all three periods. Patrick Marleau alone had nine shots on goal for the game. He also scored the only goal for San Jose, a strike in the second period to help cut into a 3-0 LA lead.

Jonathan Quick did everything but stand on his head to make the 3-0 lead stand up. He stopped 51-of-52 shots for a .981 save percentage in a game that proved to be even more impressive than his shutout in Game 2.

In the two wins in this series, Quick has stopped a whopping 85-of-86 shots for a .988 save percentage, but in the two most recent losses, he allowed six goals in each game.

Of course, this wasn't the first time that the Kings came out of the blocks on fire in a game. They led 4-0 against the Sharks in Game 3 before blowing the lead in less than 20 minutes and losing in overtime. However, Quick made sure this lead would stand up.

Wayne Simmons, Kyle Clifford and Dustin Penner all lit the lamp for LA to pull off the upset on the NHL betting odds as plus 183 underdogs.

San Jose has some major questions to answer on its holiday. Antti Niemi, the man that was brought here due to the fact that he won the Stanley Cup last year with the Chicago Blackhawks, could be finding himself on the bench. Niemi won the starting job once and for all from Antero Niittymaki just after the all-star break this season, and we saw very, very little of the Finnish born netminder since January.

But after allowing three goals on four shot attempts, Niemi was yanked in Game 5 and replaced by Niittymaki. It was the second time in this series that the move was made in net, and after watching Niittymaki do everything that he could for two games to lead the Sharks to victory, head coach Todd McLellan definitely has a tough choice to make. The former member of the Tampa Bay Lightning has stopped 29 of the 30 shots he has faced in the postseason.

Should San Jose win this game, it will lock up the series and set up a second-round date with either the Detroit Red Wings, Nashville Predators or Anaheim Ducks. In the Kings win, a decisive Game 7 will occur back at HP Pavilion on Wednesday night.

 
 
 
 
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