NHL preview: Maple Leafs can clinch

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The NHL is playing a compact 48-game, 99-day schedule and we

Not that the Kings need home-ice advantage as they showed last year by becoming the first eighth seed to win the Stanley Cup.. Florida Panthers at New York Islanders, 7: The Islanders, who sit in a playoff position after missing the postseason the past five years, are playing their final home game of the season.. They hold a three-point lead on the Jets, their opponent during the season-ending five-game trip.. The Islanders play better on the road than at home, though they are on a 4-0-1 run at home.. They’re 2-0 against the Panthers this season.. MORE: Tuesday’s NHL scoreboard Tampa Bay Lightning at Winnipeg, 8: The Lightning are in a spoiler role and the Jets are fighting for their playoff lives.. Winnipeg has won three in a row, with Bryan Little (three consecutive two-point games) leading the way.. Also being played on Tuesday: Carolina Hurricanes at Ottawa Senators, 7:30; Vancouver Canucks at St.. Louis Blues, 8; Minnesota Wild at Edmonton Oilers, 9:30.. TOP PERFORMANCES FROM 2012-13 SEASON The NHL is playing a compact 48-game, 99-day schedule and we’ve already seen our share of top performances.. A look at the best of each day:  Harry How, Getty Images April 16: Kyle Brodziak skates past his teammates after scoring against Edmonton. source: http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/nhl/2013/04/16/nhl-preview-tuesday/2088271/

Kawakami: Sharks-Kings would be a great NHL series

in your first Sharks game of the season.. That’s what happened Tuesday night in the Sharks’ 3-2 shootout victory over Los Angeles, and it’s always appreciated when teams deliver as the Sharks and Kings did — after a so-so first period, the second, third, overtime and shootout stanzas were as good as high-level playoff hockey, no doubt.. Which makes you think: This would be an incredible seven-game series in the first round, and that’s the way they’re lined up as the Nos.. 4 and 5 seeds (although the West standings are very volatile right now, as always).. It’s an electric atmosphere between these teams, and no player was more kinetic than Brent Burns, the defenseman-turned-forward who just looks ready to blast everything he touches into the net.. “What he’s done for our team is a lot like (Colin) Kaepernick for the 49ers,” Sharks coach Todd McLellan said of Burns, who was in on both Sharks regulation goals — scoring one and assisting on T.J.. Galiardi’s in a 42-second span.. “He has the ability to roam around and be somewhat reckless at times.” Yep, I’ve gotta appreciate even more when the Sharks coach starts giving out 49ers analogies.. McLellan had quite the contented smile when he pointed out that Burns just can bull people over .. .. .. and I’ll add that Burns’ size and aggressiveness absolutely puts defenders on their heels — kind of like a QB I have watched recently. source: http://www.mercurynews.com/tim-kawakami/ci_23045027/kawakami-sharks-kings-would-be-great-nhl-series

Los Angeles Kings at San Jose Sharks

Now the Stanley Cup champions have to face a team that owns the fewest regulation home losses that is in position to overtake them in the standings.. Playoff positioning is at stake Tuesday night between these Pacific Division rivals at the HP Pavilion, where the San Jose Sharks have won five straight over the Kings.. Los Angeles (24-14-4) hasn’t lost four in a row on the road since a five-game slide Feb.. 25-March 13, 2009.. These teams are vying for home-ice advantage in the first round of the postseason.. The Kings are in fourth in the Western Conference with 52 points while the Sharks (22-13-7) are fifth with 51.. Starting a potential series between these teams in San Jose could be a problem for the Stanley Cup champions, although coach Darryl Sutter did not agree with the notion that the Sharks are traditionally tough at home.. “Not traditionally,” he told the Kings’ official website.. “This year they are.. I think they have one regulation loss.. So I don’t know if that’s a tradition.. That’s this year, so that’s what it’s based on. source: http://stats.washingtonpost.com/nhl/preview.asp?g=2013041618&home=18&vis=8&final=true

Kings and Sharks play a thriller . . . till they meet again?

Kings-Ducks at Dodger Stadium among six outdoor games next season

This was a (potential) sneak playoff preview: The Sharks pushed hard.. The Kings pushed back even harder.. San Jose scored twice in the second period and the Kings matched those two goals by the end of the second.. Sharks goalie Antti Niemi was flawless until the final 6:01 of the second period, and his counterpart, Jonathan Quick kept the Kings afloat with a superb performance in occasional moments of disarray.. Also BOX SCORE: San Jose 3, Kings 2 (SO) One successful move almost demanded a countermove and the Kings and Sharks certainly were up to the challenge in an intriguing, fast-paced playoff appetizer that the Sharks won, 3-2, in a shootout Tuesday night at HP Pavilion .. It took three rounds and was decided by the Sharks’ third shooter, Raffi Torres , who beat Quick between the pads.. Logan Couture and Dan Boyle missed for the Sharks, and Jeff Carter , Anze Kopitar and Mike Richards missed for the Kings.. “I just wanted to be patient and see what he [Niemi] was doing,” Richards said of his attempt, which ended the shootout and the game.. “I saw on Kopi’s that he was back in his net.. I wanted to stop like I normally do.. I faked the shot. source: http://www.latimes.com/sports/la-sp-0417-kings-sharks-20130417,0,4641450.story

 

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