The San Jose Sharks get set to take on the Los Angeles Kings in Game 1 in the Western Conference Semifinals on Tuesday at 10pm. Please note all games will be carried LIVE locally on CSNCA-HD / 98.5-102.1 FM KFOX and the Sharks Radio Network.
Before each game day, sjsharks.com will take a look at the “Game inside the Game” as the Sharks continue their quest toward the Stanley Cup. Line matchups, player vs. player battles, head-to-head stats, and key figures highlighted each game day.
Before Game 1, let’s take a closer look at the special teams for the Sharks and the Kings.
We hear it all the time….Special teams can make or break a team in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Sharks were quite impressive in Round 1 vs. the Canucks. Let’s take a closer look at the Sharks/Kings power play and penalty kill heading into Game 1 in LA.
Sharks Regular Season:
Kings Regular Season:
Top 5 Sharks on the PP in the regular season and playoffs:
Couture – 7 power play goals + 3 postseason playoff goals = 10
Pavelski – 5 power play goals + 3 postseason playoff goals = 8
Marleau – 6 power play goals +1 postseason playoff goal = 7
Boyle – 5 power play goals
Irwin – 4 power play goals
Top 5 Kings on the PP in the regular season and playoffs:
Carter – 8 power play goals + 1 postseason playoff goal = 9
Brown – 8 power play goals + 1 postseason playoff goal = 9
Richards – 6 power play goals
Doughty – 3 power play goals
Muzzin – 3 power play goals
Did You Know?:
*Trivia Time… the Sharks are now 121-for-807 all time on the power play (14.99%) and 584-for-724 on the penalty kill (80.6%) in the Stanley Cup playoffs.
*Remember When… In the only other playoff meeting between the Sharks and the Kings (San Jose won 4-2 in Western Quarter Final in 2011), the Kings had the upper hand on the special teams.
Advantage goes to….
PP – San Jose
The Sharks PP was lights out at the HP Pavilion in Round 1 vs. the Canucks (6 power play goals in two games). Logan Couture and Joe Pavelski each had three power play goals in the first round vs. the undisciplined Canucks. The Sharks will not get nearly as many chances vs. the LA Kings in Round 2.
The Kings power play ranked 10th in the regular season (19.9%) and were led by Jeff Carter (8 ppg) and Dustin Brown (8 ppg) – but ran up against a very tough Blues penalty kill and scored just twice on 15 chances in Round 1. The Sharks power play has the advantage headed into Round 2.
PK – TIE
The Sharks were extremely disciplined in Round 1 and allowed only 10 power play chances against to the Canucks… but did allow two goals. Antti Niemi made some HUGE saves when the Sharks were shorthanded against Vancouver… who had struggles on the PP all season. The Kings had the 10th ranked PK in the regular season and were almost perfect in the first round vs. the Blues (15-for-17). Defensemen Keaton Ellerby (2:43) and Drew Doughty (2:34) led all Kings on average shorthanded ice time in the first round and should get the majority of the workload vs. the Sharks.
THE BOTTOM LINE
The Sharks outscored the Canucks 7-2 in special teams play in Round 1 to sweep Vancouver 4-0. The Kings are a much more disciplined team and the penalty kill is a lot more aggressive. Los Angeles will look to keep the play 5-on-5 during this series, especially at HP Pavilion. If the Sharks can mirror their first round special team’s success and carry it into round two vs. LA, San Jose will be in great shape in this series. But, 2012 Conn Smythe winning goaltender Jonathan Quick might have other ideas as the Sharks look to pile up more power play goals in the playoffs. Word to the wise for both teams… stay out of the box and bury your power play chances. Special teams will be a focal point in this evenly matched series.
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