Los Angeles Kings @ San Jose Sharks Preview; Western Semi Final, Game 3


Previewing the Los Angeles Kings’ 2012-13 season:
West Semi Final, Game 3 @ San Jose; May 18/13, 6pm PST (9pm EST)

Having won the first two games of this series on home ice, the Los Angeles Kings are riding high as they continue their series with the San Jose Sharks. But before they get too ahead of themselves, they need to focus on the task at hand as once a team returns to home ice, they have the momentum to erase a 2-0 series deficit and as proof, the Kings don’t need to look any further than their opening-round series against the St. Louis Blues.

After dropping the first two games of said series in St. Louis, the defending champs looked to be headed for an early playoff exit. But the team and their fans didn’t give in just yet. After all, they had yet to play on home ice – and when they did, they took over the series, winning four straight to eliminate the Blues.

With that, the Kings know they need to keep pressing against a resilient Sharks team as they enter Game 3 at the Shark Tank tonight with hopes of taking a stranglehold in this Western Semi Final.

Mar 14, 2013; San Jose, CA, USA; San Jose Sharks goalie Antti Niemi (31) blocks a shot by Los Angeles Kings right wing Justin Williams (14) during the first period at the HP Pavilion. Mandatory Credit: Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

In Game 1, they won with top-notch goaltending and in Game 2, they won with clutch resiliency. So what the Kings have in store for Game 3 in enemy territory has yet to be seen but with the resiliency the Sharks showed in Game 2, they simply won’t be content to roll over and let Los Angeles dominate should they jump out to another quick start.

While San Jose does need to contain Jeff Carter and Slava Voynov, they now have other weapons to focus on as Dustin Brown, Drew Doughty and Trevor Lewis all joined in on the fun by each scoring critical goals last game Even Tyler Toffoli, who assisted on the winner last game, warrants a little extra attention himself from the opposition. Of course, this isn’t to say that the responsibility of shutting down the opposition falls solely on the shoulders of the Sharks.

Like usual, the Kings need to find a way to slow Patrick Marleau who scored last game adding to his dominance against the silver-and-black. The same can be said for Joe Thornton and Joe Pavelski who, despite having yet to score this series, have both added pressure on the Kings defense to score a goal. Speaking realistically, logic would suggest that players of their calibre can only go so long without breaking out in a big way.

In addition, the Kings need to spend a little more time covering the San Jose defense which scored twice in Game 2 – courtesy of Brad Stuart and Marc-Eduoard Vlasic.

And of course, should the Kings hope to make it seven-straight wins this postseason, they will need to continue what they’re doing against Antti Niemi who despite losing both games thus far, has been very good stopping 27 shots last game – albeit not quite as effective as his counterpart.

The Los Angeles Kings may lead this series but they will enter a very hostile environment as San Jose’s HP Pavilion will be rocking determined to help the home team get back into this Western Semi Final.

The action starts at 6pm PST (9pm EST). It should be a wild one.

Enjoy the game!