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Western Conference Battle Royale: The Man (Dis)Advantage

The shortened season and two rounds of the playoffs have rushed by like a freight train. Tomorrow is the first day of June and the four best teams in the NHL take the ice in the conference finals in the quest for the Cup.

For the first time since 1945 the conference finals pit the four previous Stanley Cup Champions against one another. There’s no rest for the Kings or Blackhawks, both seventh game victors and somehow favorites to represent the Western Conference in the Stanley Cup Finals.

Jonathan Quick and Corey Crawford have led their teams from their nets. After a shaky season Quick has not only returned but improved from his Conn Smythe performance from last postsea...

Kings/Sharks Game 6 Preview: The Power Play

Despite the lack of scoring there's a lot to talk about in this series. Darryl Sutter has been adjusting lines masterfully, Logan Couture's comeback in game three, and the great play of Antti Niemi and Jonathan Quick are only a few of the subplots in this exciting series.

But with the Sharks facing elimination tonight the power play is the top priority. Los Angeles and San Jose have had incosinstent power play success often determining the outcome of games this series. Before dissecting the power play rates in this series let's take a look at each teams power play and penalty kill percentages throughout the playoffs.

Kings - Through 11 Games Result/Chances...

Kings vs. Sharks: Through Three Games

Through three games the Kings/Sharks Western Conference Semifinal has been nothing short of fantastic. Entering the series was the Stanley Cup defending champions who disposed of the St. Louis Blues in six games despite falling behind 2-0; the Sharks entered red hot as a team drenched with momentum after easily sweeping the Canucks 4-0.

The two Californian teams play rough styles of hockey that aren't always pretty but are effective for playoff hockey. The Kings won the first two games in different fashion, the first behind the perfect play of Jonathan Quick who shut out the Sharks facing 35 shots and secondly behind some late game heroics in a spectacular comeback win.

2013 Playoffs Round 2 Preview

The first round of the 2013 NHL playoffs are in the books, eight teams have been sent packing to hit the links while eight teams remain to square off in the conference semi-finals. (Photo Credit: Torch Creative)

The first round did not disappoint hockey fans who have come to expect physical, fast, dramatic hockey in the playoffs and year after year they are not disappointed.

One year after the Los Angeles Kings became the first eight seed ever to win the Stanley Cup both seven seeds and both six have managed to advance to the semi-finals. The Eastern Conference Semi-final match-ups pit the Pittsburgh Penguins (1) against the Ottawa Senators (7) and the Boston Bruins (4) face off with the New York Rangers (6), while the Western Conference will feature the Chicago Blackhawks (1) who will try to hold off the Detroit Redwings (7) and the defending champion Los Angeles Kings (5) will face their fellow Californians, the San Jose Sharks (6).

Two series start today:

Kings Battle For Fourth Seed

 

 

Preview:  Tonight is the Mullet Game for the Kings (25-14-5; 55 points): business in the front; party in the back. Vancouver’s 2-1 SO win last night over Detroit launches the Kings into the playoffs. The question now is where do they land and who will they face. Tonight’s game (along with the two against the Wild and one against the Red Wings) will determine their seed as they most likely battle the Sharks for home-ice advantage between the four and five seeds.

Los Angeles still has a lot of business in front of them but fans should celebrate the playoff berth. The opening two weeks of the season saw some awful hockey, inconsistent play by ...

Playoff Preview? Kings take on Sharks

 

Preview: The Kings (24-14-4; 52 points) look to end their local road woes as they head to San Jose to take on the Sharks (22-13-7; 51 points) tonight at 7:30. The Kings enter in fourth place in the Western Conference with the Sharks in fifth, only one point behind. With seven games left the Kings playoff chances look secure as long as they can avoid a major collapse.

The Kings have lost three road games in a row and the Sharks have one of the best home-ice records in the league. There’s a good possibility that the Kings could meet the Sharks in the first round of the playoffs, making tonight’s  game not only preview but a battle for the better se...

Kings Fall Apart

It's hard to win when you allow four goals in the final period. The Kings gave up four consecutive goals in the final twenty minutes resulting in a 5-1 loss to the Stars in Dallas. On the bright side the Columbus Blue Jackets blanked the fifth place San Jose Sharks, 4-0 tonight.

The Kings finish the night in fourth place in the Western Conference as the shortened season races toward its finish line. 

Drew Doughty's power play goal 1:13 into the game seems like an eternity ago. After Doughty's tally the Kings fell victim to a Stars' strategy that stifled the Kings. Anze Kopitar fed Doughty who banged in his fourth goal of the season past Kari Lehtone...

Game Preview: Kings Vs Stars

Preview: The Kings (22-13-4; 48 points) head to Dallas to take on the Stars(18-17-3; 39 points) tonight at 5:30.While the Kings are currently in fourth place in the Western Conference the Sharks and Wild are just behind in the standings putting pressure on Los Angeles. There are nine games left in the season and even a playoff spot is not guaranteed. The Stars are in tenth place, nine points back from the Kings.

Tonight’s game will be the fourth of five contests between the teams. Dallas won both games in Los Angeles: On March 7th they won 5-2 and 2-0 on March 21st. The Kings won the most recent game in Dallas with a 3-2 victory on March 31t.

All three games ...

Game Preview: Showdown in Anaheim

 

Preview: There could be a lot on the line for tonight’s Southern California battle. The Kings (22-13-3; 47 points) make the short trip to Anaheim to take on the Ducks (25-8-5; 55 points) tonight at 6. Tonight’s contest marks the final ten games in the season for both teams. Los Angeles currently sits in second place in the Pacific Division trailing the Ducks by eight points. The Kings final game against Anaheim will be next Saturday at the Staples Center.

Since the winner of each division is reserved a top three seed for the playoffs winning the Pacific Division provides plenty of advantages. A chance to pick up two points on the Ducks and set the ton...

Game Preview: Kings Vs Blues

 

Preview: The Kings (18-12-2; 38 points) continue their road stretch in St. Louis to take on the Blues(17-13-2; 36 points) tonight at 5. The Blues sit just behind the Kings in 7th place in the Western Conference standings.

This will be the third and final game between the two teams. The Kings captured two points in the two previous games winning 4-1 in February and 6-4 a couple weeks ago. Despite leading the team with 18 goals Jeff Carter has recently cooled off leaving the Kings with a more balanced approach. Carter scored three times in the two games against the Blues and will look to light the lamp tonight.

St. Louis has dropped three of their last four g...