Kings at Sharks Picks and NHL Game 3 Odds
by Alan Matthews - 5/18/2013
"They" say that no playoff series truly begins until a road team wins a game. Well, the San Jose Sharks better hope their Western Conference semifinals series against the Los Angeles Kings doesn't start on Saturday night in Game 3, or it's all but over.
The most memorable game of these entire Stanley Cup Playoffs probably already has happened: Boston's epic three-goal third-period comeback in Game 7 of the first round against Toronto. However, that was only dramatic from about midway through the third period on. Thursday night's Game 4 in L.A. between the Sharks and Kings has to, at worst, be called No. 2 thus far. Trailing the Sharks by a goal with 1:42 left in the third period, the Kings scored twice in 22 seconds to win 4-3 and take a 2-0 series lead.
The good news for San Jose is that it won't have to see Staples Center again until Game 5, presuming we get there. The Kings' victory Thursday was their 12th straight at home this year and sixth straight in the playoffs. Both are team records. L.A.'s 24-4-1 home record this season is the best in the NHL and the best home winning percentage in franchise history.
Kings at Sharks Betting Story Lines
The big storyline heading into Game 2 was that San Jose's Raffi Torres was up to his usual antics and had been suspended for the rest of this series, however long it goes. Torres blasted Kings third-line center Jarrett Stoll near the head in Game 1, getting just a minor penalty for charging, and Stoll didn't return. Torres made headlines in last year's playoffs while with the Coyotes when he laid out Chicago's Marian Hossa, who suffered a very serious concussion and probably wouldn't have been ready for the start of this season if not for the lockout. The league gave Torres a 25-game ban for that (later lowered to 21), which carried over into this season. This suspension is No. 4 in Torres' career. Torres, acquired from the Coyotes ahead of this year's trade deadline, had two goals and four assists in 11 regular season games with the Sharks and had a goal in the first-round sweep of the Canucks.
Stoll missed Game 2, and don't expect to see him for at least a few more games. Stoll had seven goals, 11 assists and was plus-1 during the regular season and had an assist in seven playoff games. Brad Richardson got Stoll's minutes and played well in Game 2, assisting on Drew Doughty's goal that made it 2-0 for L.A.
San Jose will be kicking itself for losing Game 2. The Sharks finally solved Jonathan Quick on second-period goals by Patrick Marleau and Brad Stuart to tie it, and they took the lead at 8:57 of the third on a goal by Marc-Edouard Vlasic. However, Vlasic also was the goat. With the Kings on a power play with a little over two minutes remaining, Vlasic made it a 5-on-3 when he tried to clear the puck but shot it over the glass. If a shot doesn't touch an opposing player or the glass, it's a delay-of-game penalty. Replays showed the puck might have deflected off the Kings' Jeff Carter, who had L.A.'s first goal of the night. Officials generally will swallow their whistles that late in the game,, but an obvious infraction like that leaves them no choice.
It's not too often a team will lose when winning a whopping 44 of 65 faceoffs as San Jose did. But San Jose was 0-for-4 on the power play while L.A. was 3-for-6. The Kings have killed off 22 of 24 penalties in these playoffs.
Kings at Sharks NHL Game 3 Betting Odds and Key Trends
At BetOnline, the Sharks opened at -126 and the Kings at +114 with the total at 4.5. The Kings were 11-8-5 “over/under” on the road this season and are 0-2-1 in playoffs. The Sharks were 8-12-4 O/U at home during season and 2-0 in playoffs.
The Kings are 1-8 in their past nine road games. They are 4-0 in their past four Saturday games. The Sharks are 6-1 in their past seven playing on one day of rest. San Jose is 1-5 in its past six Saturday games. The under is 2-0-2 in the Kings' past four Saturday games. The over is 6-1-4 in San Jose's past 11 home games. The home team has won 11 of the past 12 meetings. The over is 5-1-3 in the past nine meetings.
Kings at Sharks Picks and Game 3 Betting Prediction
The Sharks were an excellent 17-2-5 at home this year, the fewest regulation home losses in the league. They ended the season winning five straight at HP Pavilion, including a 3-2 overtime regular-season finale over the Kings that clinched the No. 7 seed for San Jose. The Kings were just 8-12-4 on the road during the year and lost the first two at St. Louis in the first round before taking the next four games (one in St. Louis). Last year the Kings won a record 10 straight road playoff games on the way to the Cup.
San Jose probably should have won Game 2, and I think they will build off it and take Game 3 to make this a series. Also take the under. I think this series is probably over, however. The Kings have led a best-of-seven series 2-0 five other times and are 4-1. They look capable of hoisting the Cup again.
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