Kings vs. Sharks Game 6 Preview

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Home teams have had a much bigger edge in the 2013 postseason than in years past, winning 45 of 65 games, including 15 of 18 in the second round. All five games in the series between the Los Angeles Kings and the San Jose Sharks have gone to the team with home ice and those are trends that San Jose hope continue as they attempt to defend their building with their backs against the wall in game six tonight.

Because it is at home, San Jose is on the favorite line for game six, but it’s the Kings who appear to be smelling blood in the water with a chance to advance on the line. With the Sharks coming off a dismal game five performance, they know they’ll need more than home ice to beat the Kings. They’ll need to play with a sense of urgency for the first time this postseason.

“I don’t think I’ve ever thought `we’ll be fine,” San Jose forward Logan Couture said, according to ESPN.com. “You feel comfortable because you’re at home, but `being fine’ never enters you’re mind because they’re a great team. They’re playing very well, their goaltender is standing on his head every night. We know it’s going to be a challenge. Saying `we’ll be fine’ has never entered my mind.”

Though home wins for the Sharks haven’t necessarily come easy in this series, they have shown a propensity to convert the power play much more often in the friendly confines of their own stadium. In fact, San Jose has netted 9 of 24 goals on the power play at home, compared to just 1 of 19 conversions on the road. If the Sharks are going to stave off elimination today, they’ll likely need to continue to execute when they are a man up.

“It comes down to our power play,” forward Patrick Marleau said. “We’ve got to use it as momentum. At least get some really good looks at the net. Obviously we want to get some goals on it as well. But all around I think a little bit more and we’ll be OK.”

It’s incredible how strong home teams have been in this series and in the postseason, and though it may not be something we can explain completely, it’s also a hard trend to bet against, considering its so pronounced. Of course, the Sharks have even more to play for at home today, since they need to stay alive, so I would stick with the home team and take San Jose to cover -1.5 goals in the win today.

 

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