Home-ice advantage has proven to be quite valuable in this series as the home team has cashed in through each of the first five games. Now the San Jose Sharks face a 3-2 deficit and will hope to feed off of the home crowd once more.
Can they survive the pivotal Game 6 or will the reigning Cup champs put them to bed?
The Los Angeles Kings can win because…
Momentum is on their side. The Kings are coming off a stellar effort in Game 5 where they again shut the San Jose Sharks out. It’s the second time this series that’s happened. The Kings have dominated the three games played in Los Angeles and they’ve been close in the two games in San Jose. When you take a look, the Kings have outscored the Sharks 9-3 in the three games at Staples Center whereas the Sharks have won by equal 2-1 margins in the two games in San Jose.
The Kings were close in Games 3 and 4, and now they’re ready to breakthrough and put this series to bed.
The San Jose Sharks can win because…
They are an excellent home team. Those making their NHL picks know that the Sharks were the best home team in the Western Conference throughout the regular season and they have yet to lose at home in the playoffs. For this team, playing at home is significant.
When you take a closer look at goaltender Antti Niemi, he is 16-2-4 at home with a 1.83 GAA and a .934 save percentage. Those are Vezina Trophy-winning numbers. On the road, he’s just 8-10-2 with a 2.56 GAA and a .912 save percentage, so you can clearly see the difference playing at home means to him. As a team, the Sharks have scored power play goals in Games 3 and 4 but have failed to score power play goals in Games 1, 2 and 5. It’s no coincidence that they played better special teams at home.
The Kings are just 1-4 on the road these playoffs and they’ve scored exactly one goal in each of those four losses. Home-ice will be the difference again on Sunday.
Outlook & Pick
Do you see a pattern here? The Kings lost two road games in Round 1, both by a score of 2-1 but managed to win Game 6 on the road. The Kings have lost two road games in Round 2 but the exact score of 2-1 and are trying to break through on the road in Game 6 once again.
The Kings were close in Games 3 and 4, and I see them finally getting that elusive road win in Game 6 and advancing to the Western Conference final.
Pick: Kings +118 at Pinnacle[gameodds]7/237115/43-349-192/us[/gameodds]