Counter-Arguments: Sharks Will Sweep Kings

NHL Playoff Preview - Western Conference - The Copper & Blue
This series could be extremely one-sided. Even if we look at the full-year data, the Kings look overmatched in almost every category. I tracked scoring chances for this team for the first dozen games after Dustin Penner's arrival, and they didn't look at all like a playoff team. The only forward line that came close to holding its own at even strength (and they did that and more) was the Penner-Kopitar-Williams group, and now two thirds of that line is out of commission. The Sharks, meanwhile, have been excellent for the last half of the season as well as excellent overall. They have an amazing power play, and although I'm not exactly Antti Niemi's number one fan, his performance over the last couple of seasons does compare favorably to that of Jonathan Quick. The Sharks biggest weakness is probably on defense, but the Kings just don't have the horses up front to take advantage. This series is, in my mind, the most likely in the Western Conference to end in four straight, so I'll go with the Sharks in four.

Yes, that's why they call them "upsets." 

Anyway:

  • Quick > Niemi.
  • Kings' defense > Sharks defense.
Will that be enough to neutralize the Sharks' formidable offense? Maybe not. But the more people decide in advance of the series that the Kings are doomed, the more I like our chances.

I would like Obi Wan of the power play to come out of the desert and reveal jedi secrets to the Kings PP unit. If I could fortify one aspect of the Kings "game" that is likely to be make-or-break, I think that's it. We need to get back to the Vancouver series power play mojo that was unstoppable.

Maybe it's time to review some tape. Yes, that's a good idea. I'll try to dig up some NHL Gamecenter highlights of last year's power play of the Gods. For inspiration.
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