NHL Betting: LA to prove that they're Kings against the Sharks

Pittsburgh versus Ottawa will be the first Conference semi-final series to get underway with the Penguins hosting Game 1 at Consol Energy Center. 

The Penguins have taken all three previous meetings in 2013, though they were made to work hard in the encounter. 

Ottawa should prove a very different type of opposition for the Penguins in comparison to the vanquished Islanders. They might find it easier to deal with a team that is less able to put up quick goals against them. 

The Senators’ strength lies in their defence and goaltending, but dealing with Pittsburgh's wealth of offensive threats might be too much for them, as it proved in those earlier contests. The Penguins are still favourites to lift the Stanley Cup and I’d take them with a -1.5 handicap at 2.40.

300+ miles of Californian coastline separate the Los Angeles Kings from the San Jose Sharks. 

San Jose have been idle for a week after sweeping Vancouver in the first round. The rest could do them good, or we might see them start a little slowly. 

The Kings impressive defeat of St Louis was highly demanding. LA have now won five play-off series in a row, having started all of them as the lower seed. In fact, this is the first time since 1992 they will play the opening game at home. 

Two wins each during the regular season, provide little insight in to how this will play out. The Kings won on final day and all were won by the home side. 

San Jose know that standing up to their opponents aggressive forecheck and physicality is the major challenge. From there the greater skill within their line-up has the chance to show through. 

While they make that adjustment, I think LA's intensity will see them off to a good start at 2.10.

Best Bet: Los Angeles Kings to win at 2.10

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