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Thursday's NHL playoff action: What bettors need to know

San Jose Sharks at Los Angeles Kings (-143, 4.5)

Los Angeles leads series 1-0.

The fifth-seeded Los Angeles Kings attempt to continue their home dominance Thursday when they host the sixth-seeded San Jose Sharks in Game 2 of their Western Conference second-round series. Los Angeles ended the regular season with seven consecutive wins at Staples Center and has kept on rolling in the playoffs, winning all three home games against the St. Louis Blues in the first round. The reigning Stanley Cup champions, who have home-ice advantage for the first time since 1992, made it 11 in a row Tuesday as they posted a 2-0 victory over San Jose in the series opener.

Jonathan Quick made 35 saves for his sixth career playoff shutout - and second this postseason - as he has maintained the form that won him the Conn Smythe Trophy last year. Teammate Slava Voynov is emerging as a challenger for the award this postseason. The defenseman netted his third goal of the playoffs - all game-winners - and added an assist Tuesday, while Mike Richards also scored and set up a tally. The loss in Game 1 was the first of the postseason for the Sharks, who swept the Northwest Division champion Vancouver Canucks in the first round. San Jose registered 16 of its 35 shots in the third period but could not avoid being shut out for the 17th time in franchise playoff history.

TV: 10 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN, RDS

ABOUT THE SHARKS: Raffi Torres is at it again. After delivering an illegal hit to the head of Chicago's Marian Hossa while a member of the Phoenix Coyotes during last year's playoffs that drew a 25-game suspension, Torres appeared to make contact with the head of Los Angeles' Jarret Stoll in the final minute of the second period Tuesday. Torres, who earned a charging penalty, has been suspended for the remainder of the series by the league for the hit on Stoll, who did not return to the game afterward. "To be honest, I didn't really think it was even going to be a penalty," Torres said. "I still feel like I got shoulder to his shoulder, and then it looked - because he was leaning over - that I came up a little high. I hope he's alright." Coach Todd McLellan doesn't feel Torres should have been disciplined by the league. "Clean hit, not even a charging penalty, in my opinion," he said. Center Bracken Kearns received 6:05 of ice time and registered one shot in his first career playoff game. Kearns, who turned 32 Sunday, has appeared in six NHL regular-season contests.

ABOUT THE KINGS:
Richards increased his team-leading point total to seven with his goal and assist Tuesday. The former Philadelphia Flyers captain has recorded multi-point performances in three of his last four games. "He just steps up," coach Darryl Sutter said. "It's refreshing to see guys like that, that when it's a big game, they step up. He did it last series (too)." The Kings have not lost at home since suffering back-to-back shutout losses to the Dallas Stars and Vancouver on March 21 and 23, respectively. Sutter did not give an update on Stoll but admitted, without actually saying it, that the center was injured. "Well, we weren't resting him and he didn't come back," Sutter said. Richards' tally 12 1/2 minutes into the second period of the series opener gave the Kings their first two-goal lead this postseason.

TRENDS:

* Sharks are 1-4 in their last 5 Conference Semifinals games.
* Kings are 5-0 in their last 5 overall.
* Under is 7-1-2 in Kings last 10 overall.
* Home team is 10-1 in the last 11 meetings.

OVERTIME

1. D Matt Irwin led the Sharks with six shots on goal in the series opener, while C James Sheppard and D Justin Braun were the only members of the team who failed to register at least one.

2. With three game-winning goals, Voynov has set a franchise record for a defenseman in a single postseason.

3. Los Angeles has won five straight playoff games, including a franchise-record four in a row at home.

New York Rangers at Boston Bruins (-127, 5)

With little margin for error, Henrik Lundqvist offered none. The reigning Vezina Trophy winner - and finalist for this season's award - registered back-to-back shutouts to propel the New York Rangers into the Eastern Conference's second round. Lundqvist and the sixth-seeded Rangers will look to get the upper hand on Thursday, when they visit the fourth-seeded Boston Bruins in Game 1. New York recorded a 2-1-0 mark in the season series between the Original Six rivals, who are meeting in the postseason for the first time since 1973.

After stopping all 27 shots he faced in New York's 1-0 victory in Game 6 on Sunday, Lundqvist made 35 saves as the Rangers breezed to a 5-0 triumph to close out third-seeded Washington one day later. While New York hardly was challenged in its Game 7 tilt, Boston overcame a three-goal deficit in the third period to force overtime in its final contest versus fifth-seeded Toronto. Selke Trophy finalist Patrice Bergeron netted the game-tying goal with 51 seconds remaining before scoring 6:05 into the extra session as the Bruins posted a 5-4 victory over the Maple Leafs.

TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN, RDS

ABOUT THE RANGERS: While Lundqvist was keeping goals at a minimum, stud first-liner Rick Nash failed to find the net in the first round. Former Columbus teammate Derick Brassard registered a team-leading nine points (two goals, seven assists) in his first playoff series. "This is the best I've felt in a long time," he told NHL.com. "... Why I play in the NHL is because I make plays, and now not only is my confidence high, it's the best I've felt in a long time."

ABOUT THE BRUINS: Boston may be without defensemen Andrew Ference, Wade Redden and Dennis Seidenberg, as the trio did not practice on Wednesday following absences in the latter end of the first-round series. Ference missed the final two contests, Redden sat out Game 7 and Seidenberg made an early exit in the pivotal tilt - all with undisclosed injuries. Coach Claude Julien did not provide an update following Wednesday's practice. Torey Krug, who was recalled from Providence of the American Hockey League, has played in three NHL games and could make his postseason debut.

TRENDS:

* Under is 8-1-1 in the last 10 meetings in Boston.
* Rangers are 5-1 in the last six meetings in Boston.
* Rangers are 7-2 in the last nine meetings.
* Under is 14-5-2 in the last 21 meetings.

OVERTIME:


1. Lundqvist boasts a 21-7-2 mark with six shutouts and a slim 1.67 goals-against average versus Boston.

2. Boston went 1-for-16 on the power play versus New York, while the Rangers failed to score on all 14 opportunities with the man advantage against the Bruins.

3. The Rangers will play their own version of a doubleheader at Yankee Stadium in 2014. They will face New Jersey on Jan. 26 and the New York Islanders three days later as part of the league's outdoor stadium series.

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Posted by RadicalDude
1 year ago

Kings at home. Enough said. That's money in the bank!!!
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Top Response

Posted by RadicalDude
1 year ago

"Kings at home. Enough said. That's money in the bank!!!"