The Washington Post

Kings’ rebound from 0-3 NHL playoff hole against Sharks isn’t surprising

(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

The San Jose Sharks took a commanding three-games-to-none lead in their first-round Stanley Cup playoff matchup against the Los Angeles Kings, but now find themselves needing to win Game 7 on Thursday to move on to the second round.

“We certainly didn’t want to go away quiet,” Kings forward Azne Kopitar said. “We’re only thinking about one more step now. We’re going to have to play our best game of the series up there.”

But should we be surprised the Kings are still very much alive in this series? Ignoring special teams and lead-protecting situations, the Kings outshot opponents 1273-995 (56.1 percent shot percentage) during the regular season. Of the teams that led the league in this fashion since the 2008 playoffs, only the Pittsburgh Penguins (2012) got knocked out in the first round.

Season Team Shot% Playoff Result
2008 Detroit 59.3 Won Stanley Cup
2009 Detroit 57.7 Lost in Finals
2010 Chicago 57.9 Won Stanley Cup
2011 Tampa Bay 54.4 Lost in Conference Finals to eventual Cup winner
2012 Pittsburgh 56.0 Lost in First Round
2013 Los Angeles 56.4 Lost in Conference Finals to eventual Cup winner
2014 Los Angeles 56.1 ???

It won’t be easy, though.

“I don’t really know what difference it makes if you’re down three or up three,” Kings Coach Darryl Sutter said. “It’s still about the fourth game. When you’ve got two clubs with some experience at playoff time, it’s still about closing it out.”

Neil Greenberg analyzes advanced sports statistics for the Fancy Stats blog and prefers to be called a geek rather than a nerd.



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