The San Jose Sharks will face arguably their biggest rival in the Los Angeles Kings in the opening round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The big question now after the Sharks have lost consecutive playoff series to the Kings including a series that shall not be mentioned is why will this time, be different.
The Kings had a chance to lock up the division but squandered a 3-0 lead over the Jets in their final game of the season despite holding the tie-breakers allowing the Ducks the ability to lock up their fifth division title and fourth in as many years.
The Kings will enter the playoffs relatively healthy this year as they are missing Defenseman Alex Martinez with an undisclosed injury, Forward Marion Gaborik who will likely not be ready for game one and bottom four defensemen Matt Greene who will not play this postseason. For the Sharks they will enter the playoffs ideally in better shape with Marc-Edouard Vlasic should return to the lineup in game one while Nieto should be a game time decision. Matt Tennyson is also injured but would not likely factor into the Playoff roster unless there was a significant injury.
For many Sharks fans including myself, there is a little bit of dread here I’m sure. Recent playoff series against this team have been nothing short of heartbreaking. That being said the Sharks are a better team now than the one that was reverse-swept and the Kings are not as deep as they once were. Their bottom six isn’t what it once was with the absence of players like Stoll and Williams and their defence has never recovered in depth from losing Slava Voynov. I’m not going to guarantee Sharks win here but I don’t think anyone on the Kings side of the equation who is objective would be calling this a for sure win for them.
Be sure to keep your eyes on Pucknology.net, Pucknology After Dark and Teal Tinted Glasses for all your Sharks Playoff Action.