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Game 1: LA Kings vs. San Jose Sharks NHL Gambling Prediction & Lines

Kings vs Sharks Hockey Betting?

It will be offense versus defense Thursday night when the Los Angeles Kings begin their journey to a second Stanley Cup in three years. In their way is the San Jose Sharks who had a typical good regular season but have a ton to prove in the postseason. Game 1 will be one to watch – these teams clearly hate each other which makes for one of the more intriguing first round series in this year’s playoffs.

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Los Angeles (46-28-2-6) at San Jose (51-22-2-7)
When: 10:30 PM ET, Thursday, April 17, 2014
Where: SAP Center at San Jose, San Jose, California
Broadcast: CBC, RDS2, NBCSN, FS-W, CSN-CA
Kings vs. Sharks Betting Lines
Los Angeles Kings +1½ -275 +119 Ov 4½ -140
San Jose Sharks -1½ +230 -131 Un 4½ +127

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On paper this series and this game looks like a mismatch against the Kings. They were once again one of the lowest scoring team in the NHL – the worst offense of all the teams entering the playoffs! But this team was poor offensively when they won the Cup! The Kings rely on defense and goaltending and they have the horses that allow them to lean heavily on D.

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The Kings allowed the second lowest goals against in the NHL this past season – just 2.05 per game. Jonathan Quick was his typically studly self after returning from injury and went 2-0-0, including one shutout, a .930 save percentage and a 1.46 goals-against average in two appearances against the Sharks. It’s true that San Jose has an elite offense but a defensive corp. that consists of Drew Doughty, Robyn Regehr, Willie Mitchell, Matt Greene, Alec Martinez and Jake Muzzin will have their eyes clearly fixed on the Sharks’ forwards. Shut-down is a theme in the playoffs – one that the Kings accomplish to a tee more often than not. LA just has to hope that their forwards will show up on Thursday night.

The Kings absolutely have to raise the level of their offensive game if they hope to keep up with the Sharks’ prolific offense. The addition of Marian Gaborik was supposed to alleviate the scoring woes and it did to an extent but not nearly to the desired level. Gaborik looked good with his linemates Anze Kopitar and Justin Williams but he only has three goals in 15 games with his new club.
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The San Jose Sharks have an interesting decision to make before Thursday night’s game – who will they start between the pipes. Antti Niemi should be the man but he struggled mightily down the stretch – 3.11 goals-against average in his final six games. The Sharks may do what was thought to be unthinkable when the season started and go with rookie Alex Stalock in Game 1. He was 12-5-2, 1.87 goals-against average, .932 save percentage this season and looked better as the season wore on than his veteran counterpart. Starting a rookie in the playoffs is a risk but one that Coach Todd McClellan may opt to go with – he isn’t giving us a hint yet as to whom he will go with.

We wouldn’t have to worry about San Jose’s offense – if they weren’t playing against Los Angeles! Joe Thornton, Joe Pavelski, Brent Burns, Patrick Marleau and Logan Couture have been tremendous all season long playing mostly the same combinations throughout. But Coach Todd may have other ideas – he is experimenting with different line combinations at the risk of messing with what was a terrific chemistry.

Betting Prediction: A few trends to consider:
• Under is 22-7-5 in LA last 34 vs. Pacific.
• LA are 9-3 in their last 12 road games.
• Under is 32-11-9 in LA last 52 Thu. games.
• SJ are 44-14 in their last 58 home games.
• Under is 8-3 in SJ last 11 vs. Pacific.
• Under is 15-6-1 in SJ last 22 home games.
• Home team is 24-7 in the last 31 meetings.
• LA are 15-36 in the last 51 meetings in San Jose.

There certainly are a fair share of storylines ahead of Thursday night’s Game 1! But the one thing that is constant is the importance of home ice advantage in the series. The home team has won 16 of the past 17 games in this series, including all seven in last year’s playoffs won by Los Angeles – 4-1-0 this year. Despite the tinkering of the Sharks’ lineup the trends are just too difficult to ignore. It’s going to be a whale of a series and Game 1 will act as a stylish kick-off. While I think the Kings will win one in San Jose at some point in the series, I don’t think it happens Thursday night.

Pick: San Jose Sharks -131

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About DaveB

Dave B has been a Fantasy Football writer for us for 10 years. A couch potato wannabe, Dave’s insights have been read by 10’s of people for years. He hope’s for world peace + global relaxation. Enjoy and remember only smoke things that are completely natural.


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