The Anaheim Ducks clinched the Pacific Division title with a win against the Washington Capitals last night relegating the Los Angeles Kings to second place in the division and thrusting them into a series with the third place San Jose Sharks in the Western Conference Quarter-Finals of the 2016 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs.
The Season Series
The Kings and Sharks have met five times in the 2015-16 regular season with the Sharks winning three games and one of the Kings’ wins coming in overtime. In those five games between San Jose and Los Angeles, the Sharks have had the slight edge in power-play efficiency going 5-for-23 while the Kings had capitalized on 20% of their opportunities.
The trio of Joe Pavelski, Joe Thornton, and Brent Burns had a combined 24 points against the Kings this season. Both Pavelski and Thornton each have five assists and Pavelski and Burns both have four goals in the season series.
The Sharks have outscored the Kings 18-13 in the season series and former Kings’ goalie Martin Jones has started all five games with a record of 3-1-1, a save percentage of 0.915 and a goals against average of 2.60.
Jeff Carter led the Kings in scoring against the Sharks this season with two goals and three assists. Vincent Lecavalier also had three goals against the Sharks this season with two of them being the only two goals in a 5-2 loss against San Jose on March 28.
Kings goalie Jonathan Quick has appeared in three of the five games against the Sharks posting a 0-0-3 record with a 0.843 save percentage and a GAA of 4.33. Backup goalie Jhonas Enroth played the other two games posting a 0.957 save percentage and 1.50 GAA in the two games won.
Regular Season Statistics
Anze Kopitar led the Kings in scoring again this season with 74 points and Tyler Toffoli led the team in goal-scoring with a career-high 31 goals. Defenseman Drew Doughty eclipsed 50-points with 14 goals and 37 assists all while averaging over 27 minutes of ice-time per game (third in the league) according to war-on-ice.
Kings’ goalie Quick won 40 games for the first time in his career appearing in 68 regular season games this season and posting a 0.918 save percentage, a 2.22 GAA with three shutouts.
In his first season as a number one goalie with the Sharks, Jones has appeared in 65 games finishing with 37 wins. In those 65 games, Jones has posted a 0.918 save percentage, 2.27 GAA and has six shutouts on the season. Pavelski led the Sharks in goals with 38 this season and Thornton finished first in points for the Sharks with 82 points.
Playoff History Between the Two Teams
The Sharks and Kings have met each other three times in the playoffs. The Sharks won a six-game series against the Kings in 2011 when Thornton scored an overtime goal in game six of that series.
The Kings have won the two most recent series. In 2013, the two teams met in the Western Conference Semi-Finals with the Kings winning the series in seven games. The following year, the two teams would have another seven game series, but 2014 held historical implications as Los Angeles would be the fourth team in NHL history to return from a 0-3 game deficit to win a playoff series.
The NHL playoffs begin on Wednesday this week with the first game of this series scheduled for Thursday, April 14 at 10:30 p.m. PST. This will be the fourth time these two teams have met in the postseason.
Cole R. Querry resides in Southern California. Having played hockey through college and a background in science and math, he promises to bring an objective analysis to the team and sport he loves.