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San Jose Sharks Look to Sweep Los Angeles Kings Tonight

by Photo of Gil Santos

The Sharks can advance to the Western Conference Semis with a win over the Kings.

San Jose Sharks Look to Sweep Los Angeles Kings Tonight

The San Jose Sharks smell the blood in the water as they are on the verge of completing a surprising four-game sweep of the Los Angeles Kings. While most hockey pundits predicted that this series would go the full seven games, the Sharks apparently didn’t get the memo as they have thoroughly dominated the Kings thus far. 

After scoring 10 goals in seven games in last year’s Western Conference Semifinals against these same Kings, the Sharks have exploded for 17 goals in the first three contests this year. They are getting production from almost everyone as an impressive 11 of 18 Sharks have scored at least once in the series. Patrick Marleau leads the charge with three goals while rookie Tomas Hertl has made a huge impact with 2 tallies of his own. Even their tough guys, Raffi Torres and Mike Brown, have chipped in, combining for 3 goals in the series. 

While Jonathan Quick hasn’t been his usual self with an atrocious 5.78 goals against average and a .852 save percentage, his defense hasn’t exactly done him any favors. The Kings’ defense has been putrid in their own zone, struggling against the speedy Sharks and allowing 37.7 shots per game, which is most in the playoffs. This is the same defense that allowed the second least shots per game in the regular season. 

In addition, they haven’t gotten much production from their top players besides Jeff Carter, Anze Kopitar, and Drew Doughty. Dustin Brown, Mike Richards, and Justin Williams have yet to get on the score sheet. Also, Marion Gaborik was invisible until Game 3, where he finally notched his first goal of the series. 

The Kings have an extremely steep hill to climb as only three teams in the NHL have come back from a 0-3 hole to win the series. The last team to do so was the 2010 Philadelphia Flyers. 

The player to watch for the Kings is their captain Dustin Brown. Brown has to lead by example tonight and provide a spark for his team. Not a single point in the first three games is inexcusable, so he must come up big when his team needs him the most.

For the Sharks, the X-factor is going to be goaltender Antti Niemi. Niemi has been okay so far, but he needs to play better because he cannot rely on his team to score more than three goals every night.  If the Sharks’ offense isn’t as potent tonight, they will need the veteran to be at his best to complete the sweep. 

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