Sharks served on Knights menu
April 24, 2018 3:02 AM
by Alan Berg
Once the dust settled in Los Angeles as well as some carry over into the suburb Anaheim, the Golden Knights swept the Kings and the Sharks took brooms to the Ducks.
The two playoff series finished in a flash and left both teams awaiting the scheduling of Game 1, unknown at press time but rumored to be set for Thursday, when Vegas will host San Jose in the Western Conference semifinals.
Meanwhile the winner of the Knights-Sharks will play either Nashville Predators or Winnipeg Jets in the Western Conference Finals. The Predators knocked off Colorado in six and the Jets sent the Wild home to Minnesota in five. The question becomes: Which team coming off a sweep looks like the better squad?
It’s a bit of a mixed bag, folks. The Sharks played their best hockey in awhile but so did the Knights. Numbers-wise the Sharks went way up in even strength goals (5-on-5) against the Ducks, 10-2, and SJ was also dominant on the Power Play at 6-for-21 clip.
However, let’s examine that PP stat closer, shall we. Four of the six goals came in the 8-1 blowout in Game 3. For me, this is a case of the other team not having it. With that said, the Sharks did well killing off penalties, only allowing two goals on 11 chances for Anaheim.
On the Knights end, they won all four games by one goal. LA brought their super physical style of play, which concerned me given you don’t want to get beat up in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
A relief to Vegas fans, the Knights finished the Kings off as fast as possible. In the Game 2 double overtime victory alone the Kings recorded 80 hits! What I loved about the Knights is they matched that physical style well, not letting the Kings completely push them around.
Vegas was aggressive in Game 1, getting 59 hits to LA’s 68. By Game 3 and 4, Vegas was out hit but by a small margin (40-45, 37-41) and of course got the most important statistic of all, the winning goals. Marc-Andre Fleury looked every bit like a guy who won two Stanley Cups as a starter and helped fill in for the Penguins marvelously en route to a third Cup last season.
Without the schedule we will just go over the first three games of the series for this week:
San Jose at Vegas
T-Mobile Arena can you feel some more playoff hockey? How incredible is this run, regardless of what happens. What a ride the Knights are continuing on. Amazing. When it comes to the game, the Knights have been a beast at home and while I think the Sharks will be game, this smells like a home team kind of series. I think this game might be the Sharks’ best chance to steal home ice and it makes me leery to pick Vegas. After such a defensive battle with LA, signs point to a few higher scores this series. OVER
San Jose at Vegas
The pick here feels like the Knights no matter the result in Game 1. If San Jose was able to win the opener, the arena plus Vegas needing to even the series sounds like a formula for success. And if VGK stepped on the gas in a Game 1 win, I think they make it 2-0. KNIGHTS
Vegas at San Jose
With two games in the books, this is a tricky pick. San Jose has tons of playoff experience and likely will go down fighting against the Knights. Regardless, while I think the series will have some nice shootout type games. Game 3 gives me a feeling of better defense from both squads after getting 120 minutes of game time. Provided one of the first two games go overtime to bet on the goalies here. UNDER