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Kings vs. Sharks Game 1 NHL Playoff Picks | Preview

Game 1 Free Playoff Predictions: Los Angeles Kings vs San Jose Sharks

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Los Angeles Kings (46-30-6) at San Jose Sharks (48-25-9)
Date/Time: Thursday, April 14, 2011, 10:00 PM ET
Venue: HP Pavillion at San Jose, San Jose, California
Broadcast: TSN, VERSUS, RDS, FS-W (HD), CSN-CA (HD)
Kings vs. Sharks Betting Lines from Bodog.com
Spread: Sharks -1.5
Moneyline: Kings +170: Sharks -200
Over/Under: 5 goals

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The Los Angeles Kings and the San Jose Sharks kick off their playoff campaigns on Thursday night in what, on paper, appears to be a huge mismatch. The Kings were certainly an up and down club all season long – the end of the season being one of the down times. The Sharks on the other hand were one of the better NHL Betting teams in the second half of the season – they appear to have regained the form that has made them a contender for the better part of a decade now.

The Kings stumbled into the playoffs and goal scoring was predictably a problem. Without Anze Kopitar and Justin Williams in the lineup, the Kings went just 2-4 in their last six and scoring just nine goals in those games. Their two game losing streak to end the regular season produced a total of just two goals! The Kings do have nine players that registered at least 30 points this season – they will need all of those players to step up in this series.

Obviously Jonathan Quick will be a major key in this game. He, like the team, struggled down the stretch going 1-3-0 with a 3.18 goals against average.

San Jose is ready to go – ready to put all of the talk of their regular season demise behind them. The Sharks were among the hottest teams in the league in the second half of the season – they went 23-9 in their last 32 games overall to claim their fourth consecutive Pacific Division title and the second seed in the West.

San Jose’s offense went from middle of the pack to 6th in the league with their late season run. They have 2 ½ lines that are an absolute handful. Patrick Marleau, Joe Thornton, Dany Heatley, Devin Setoguchi, Joe Pavelski and even Kyle Wellwood enter the playoffs playing very well.

Antti Niemi will start in goal on Thursday on a hot streak of his own. He was 9-1-1 in his last 11 starts of the Regular Season and in his last six was 5-1-0 with a 1.51 goals against average.

NHL Betting Trends:
Under is 6-1-1 in LA last 8 overall.
Under is 6-1-1 in LA last 8 vs. Western Conference.
LA are 3-8 in their last 11 Thu. games.
Over is 8-0-1 in SJ last 9 games following a win.
Over is 10-2-1 in SJ last 13 overall.
SJ are 20-6 in their last 26 games following a win.
LA are 8-19 in the last 27 meetings in San Jose.
LA are 17-36-1 in the last 54 meetings.

Betting Prediction: The Los Angeles Kings were 21-17-3 on the road this season while the Sharks were 25-11-5 at home. The Kings are just 8-19 in their last 27 trips to San Jose and are just 17-36-1 in their last 54 games versus the Sharks.

The Kings weathered the injury storm pretty well for quite a while but the absence of their best offensive weapons appeared to have caught up to them late in the season. San Jose has it all going at the moment – offense, defense and goaltending. Take the home team to start strong in a game that could potentially be over by the start of the third period.

Pick: San Jose Sharks -200 and the Over – 5 goals

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