The Sharks are known as playoff chokers but they’ve played valiantly while pushing the defending champs to the brink of elimination. Can they finally overcome the mental hurdle and get to the next level?
The San Jose Sharks can win because…
They know what they need to do. The Sharks have won three times at home in this series and lost three times on the road. The games have played out very differently but at least the Sharks know exactly what they need to do to win.
The Sharks need a stellar effort from Antti Niemi in net, who has given up just three goals in three games at home compared to nine in the three games on the road. The Sharks will also need to get their power play going as they’ve scored power play goals in their three wins but have failed to score with the man-advantage on the road.
The blueprint is laid out for the Sharks. All they need to do is go out and execute.
The Los Angeles Kings can win because…
They are playing at home. People making their NHL picks have noticed that home-ice advantage has proved to be quite valuable in this series. That’s because the home team has won every time.
The Sharks are not a good road team and they haven’t displayed any evidence that that will change in Game 7. They’ve been outscored 9-3 in the three contests in Los Angeles and have been shut out twice.
The Kings have won 14 straight at home. They’ll feed off their home crowd and get the job done in Game 7.
Outlook & Pick
There’s no need to bet against the trends in this series. Home-ice advantage has been the key. The Sharks power play, offense and goaltending simply hasn’t been as good on the road as it has been at home. The same is true for the Kings. Look for another stellar effort out of Jonathan Quick as he leads the Kings to a win.
The NHL odds list the Kings around a -140 favorite and that’s about fair. They opened at about -150 and that was a bit pricy, so if you’re in that neighborhood, consider the puck line. However, at -140, the Kings are a reasonable bet given how they’ve played at home.Pick: Kings -140 at Bwin