May 14, 2013, 2:42 PM EST
How rare is it for the Kings to have home ice advantage?
Pretty rare — Los Angeles hasn’t had home ice in a series in 21 years.
LA lost the ’92 Smythe Division semifinals to the Vincent Damphousse-led Oilers. Luc Robitaille, currently serving as the Kings’ President of Business Operations, led all scorers with seven points in six games.
So yeah. Long time ago.
Aside from the historical stuff, getting home ice is a huge boon for the Kings. They’re riding a 10-game win streak at Staples and finished the regular season with the NHL’s best home record (19-4-1).
Will the layoff affect the Sharks?
San Jose hasn’t played since last Tuesday, when they swept Vancouver with a 4-3 OT victory in Game 4.
A full week off is a rarity, especially after a condensed 48-game season — but the Sharks have heard the rust versus rest debate, and know which side of the argument they’re on.
“Staying sharp — it’s stuff that we do every day, you just want to make sure you stay on top of it,” defenseman Dan Boyle told the San Jose Mercury News. ““People often talk about rust coming back, but I’ll take rust over getting beat up over the course of seven games.”
If the Sharks want a blueprint on how to handle time off, they should copy the Kings.
Last postseason, LA had six days off between Rounds 1 and 2 (swept the Blues), seven days off between Round 2 and the Western Conference finals (beat the Coyotes in five), and eight days off between the Western Conference and Stanley Cup finals (defeating the Devils in 6 to win it all.)
Has Jonathan Quick reverted to form?
Quick blamed himself for LA falling into a 2-0 series deficit against the Blues in Round 1, and with good reason — a puckhandling gaffe in Game 1 and Barret Jackman‘s lengthy slapper in Game 2 had a people wondering if the luster had worn off last year’s playoff MVP.
Well, it didn’t.
Quick responded by winning four straight games to close out the series, stopping 104 of 110 shots (.945 save percentage) along the way and earning huge respect from Blues head coach Ken Hitchcock.
“That’s what playoffs are — goaltending is a big part of it,” Hitchcock explained. “I thought the best player of the series was their goalie. In the end he made the big saves.”
Who’s stronger down the middle?
These are two of the NHL’s deepest clubs at center.
San Jose’s trio of Joe Thornton, Logan Couture and Joe Pavelski ran roughshod over Vancouver (22 points combined) in the opening round, while Kings head coach Darryl Sutter routinely praises his centers — Anze Kopitar, Mike Richards, Jarret Stoll, Colin Fraser – as the strongest part of the team.
(He also called Kopitar “the best all-around centerman that I’ve coached, period.”)
If there’s a slight edge, it might be in the faceoff circle.
The Sharks were dominant in Round 1 — Couture won a staggering 68.2 percent of his draws against the Canucks — while the Kings initially struggled against St. Louis (36 percent in Game 1) before evening things out by the end.
How physical will it get?
LA was in a virtual street fight with the Blues — Dustin Penner called it “the most physical series I’ve ever been a part of” — and what St. Louis showed (in Games 1 and 2 especially) was the importance of initiating contact with the Kings, a team that likes to crash and bang.
It’ll be interesting to see if San Jose can do something similar.
The Sharks got bigger and nastier up front by moving Brent Burns to wing and acquiring Raffi Torres, and get plenty of energy from the likes of James Sheppard, Andrew Desjardins and Tommy Wingels (who leads the team in hits, with 20).
Dec 9, 2013, 12:11 AM EST
The check didn’t result in a penalty.
Dec 8, 2013, 11:34 PM EST
Plus the Olympics, legal matters and more.
Dec 8, 2013, 10:58 PM EST
More bad injury breaks for Boston.
Dec 8, 2013, 10:39 PM EST
“It’s getting old,” Brad Richards said.
Dec 8, 2013, 10:10 PM EST
Todd McLellan wasn’t happy on Sunday.
Dec 8, 2013, 9:53 PM EST
Good news/bad news night for Chicago.
Dec 8, 2013, 9:22 PM EST
Is this a faux pas?
Dec 8, 2013, 8:16 PM EST
Dec 8, 2013, 7:24 PM EST
Punishment for Varlamov’s last start or reward for Jiggy’s win?
Dec 8, 2013, 7:13 PM EST
It resulted in a broken ankle.
Dec 8, 2013, 7:01 PM EST
He expects to bring “tons of energy.”
Dec 8, 2013, 6:50 PM EST
Claude Julien believes Brendan Shanahan faces a few tough calls.
Dec 8, 2013, 6:25 PM EST
Ryan Spooner and Matt Fraser are emergency recalls.
Dec 8, 2013, 5:45 PM EST
Dec 8, 2013, 5:32 PM EST
No back-to-back duty for Braden Holtby.
Dec 8, 2013, 5:16 PM EST
The team is unsure if he has a concussion.
Dec 8, 2013, 5:13 PM EST
He’s not even sure if he’s retiring, but even if he is, he doesn’t want the distraction.
Dec 8, 2013, 4:21 PM EST
Los Angeles has been great during his recovery process.
Dec 8, 2013, 3:34 PM EST
Mason might not get that much, but he’s certainly in line for a big raise.
Dec 8, 2013, 2:46 PM EST
His Boston Bruins will play there on Tuesday.
- Report: Dion Phaneuf will face hearing for hit on Kevan Miller 0
- Bruins coach admits Thornton crossed the line, slams Pens for not being ‘truthful’ 75
- Lecavalier out 3-4 weeks with non-displaced fracture in back 3
- Islanders players hold closed-door meeting after ninth straight loss 11
- Penguins’ Neal has phone hearing for knee on Bruins’ Marchand 88
- Shawn Thornton confirms hearing with NHL Department of Player Safety (Updated) 83
- Video: Penguins’ Neal knees Bruins’ Marchand 68
- Penguins announce Brooks Orpik ‘alert and conscious’ (Updated) 47
- Shawn Thornton: ‘People could probably criticize that I’m a little too honorable’ 78
- Video: Penguins’ Orpik stretchered off ice; Bruins’ Thornton given match penalty 172
- Video: Penguins’ Orpik stretchered off ice; Bruins’ Thornton given match penalty (172)
- Bylsma: Sharks are NHL’s best, ‘with all due respect to Chicago’ (89)
- Penguins’ Neal has phone hearing for knee on Bruins’ Marchand (88)
- Shawn Thornton confirms hearing with NHL Department of Player Safety (Updated) (83)
- Bruins’ Kelly out with broken ankle after Dupuis slash (81)