A lot of things have been certain for the Los Angeles Kings and their fans in the past few weeks. Both have known that they would be involved in post season action. They even knew where they would be sitting once the playoffs started. However, with all that certainty they needed to wait and see who they would be playing in the opening round.
The Kings have had the third seed in the Pacific Division locked up for some time now. However, with the new playoff format the Kings had to wait and see who would finish the season in the number two spot in the Pacific in order to know who they would face in the opening round of the playoffs. So Los Angeles sat and waited patiently for the rest of the standings to fill out.
That being said, the Anaheim Ducks and San Jose Sharks have been jockeying for the number one spot in the Division for the last few weeks. One day the Sharks would be sitting in the number one spot and the next the Ducks would be. All of the back and forth finally came to an end a few nights ago when the Ducks locked up the Pacific Division title and punched the Kings’ ticket to San Jose for the first round.
I know a lot of Kings fans, and Ducks fans the same, were hoping for a playoff match-up that would have put the two Southern California rivals against one another. Hell I was even a part of that group for a good chunk of time. That whole, “It’s not a real rivalry until you meet in the playoffs,” thing really got to me. However, the Kings may have dodged a bullet in drawing the Sharks and not the Ducks in the first round.
Let’s start with the obvious. The Kings have performed better against the Sharks all season long. The Kings have gone 3-1-1 against the Sharks this season compared to
their 1-3-0 record against the Ducks up to this point of the season. Yes, the Kings could kind of salvage that record with their game tomorrow night against the Ducks, but think back to the Kings’ games against both teams. The Kings were in all of those games against the Sharks, and although there were several one goal games against the Ducks, the Kings have never really seemed to get things going against the Ducks.
Secondly, I would take playing the Sharks roster over playing the Ducks roster any day. I know in some cases it’s a pick your poison kind of scenario. Who would you want coming down one-on-one against you, Joe Thornton or Ryan Getzlaf, Logan Couture or Corey Perry? But there is just something about the Sharks roster that doesn’t quite measure up to the Ducks. Maybe it’s just my mind not being able to take any roster that has Raffi Torres anywhere on it seriously.
Finally, you just can’t over look the past. The Sharks are perhaps the biggest choke artists in recent memory. Look at all those Pacific Division titles, those 100+ point seasons, that President’s Trophy and all those Stanley Cup…. Oh, oops. There is no team that is more known for coming up short in the playoffs than the Sharks and there have been no significant changes to that line-up over the last few seasons to persuade me that things will be different this year.
The Kings will get past the Sharks, whether that be thanks to the Kings’ play or the Sharks living up to their past we will have to wait and find out.