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Key Matchup-

Two of the league’s best centers are going head to head. Anze Kopitar and Joe Thornton will be a fantastic matchup to witness. While Kopitar has score more goals than Thornton this season Kopitar has a lower shot rate this year than he has in the past, and Thornton has one of the best Corsi Rel% in the league.

LA Kings-

Winning Formula: 

The Kings strategy is to win faceoffs and dominate other teams by keeping puck possession. LA is the best in the league at outshooting their adversaries. Jeff Carter , Kopitar, and Tyler Toffoli are all great on offense but compared to other teams in the league the rest of the players are there to suppress the other team and not necessarily add to the goal count. This team plays a heavy defensive game with the likes of Drew Doughty who is a force to be reckoned with and Jake Muzzin. Jonathan Quick will be in the crease yet again to stand on his head throughout any playoff run.

How to Lose the Series in 7 Games or Less:  

If the Sharks perform their penalty kills without giving a point the Kings will lose much of their offensive opportunities. The Kings defense is a burly bunch and when faced with superior speed and puck movement they can by stymied.

San Jose Sharks –

Winning Formula:

The Sharks are productive on all lines with Joe Thornton, Joe Pavelski, Logan Couture, Patrick Marleau, Joel Ward, Tomas Hertl and Joonas Donskoi, as well as Brent Burns. Their defense is solid as well with the aforementioned Burns, Marc-Edouard Vlasic, Paul Martin, Justin Braun, Roman Polak and Brenden Dillon.

How to Lose the Series in 7 Games or Less: 

Evgeni Nabokov and Antti Niemi have both faultered in net in the past during the playoffs. Now we will have to see if Martin Jones will follow suit or maintain his phenominal level of play during the post season. San Jose has a bevy of veterans, but as much experience and skill as they provide they can also slow the team down.

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Prediction: Sharks in 7