SAN JOSE, Calif. - Familiarity with rinks. Loud fans providing a boost of energy. Dictating matchups with the last line change.
Joe Thornton and the San Jose Sharks aren't exactly sure why home teams have been winning games in the NHL playoffs at a clip not seen in more than three decades. They just hope that trend continues for Game 6 on Sunday night when they look to stave off elimination against the defending Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings and force a decisive seventh game. Then they can try to figure out how to stop it.
The home team has won all five games of this series so far with the Kings holding a 3-2 edge. In fact, the home team has won all nine games between these teams this year.
What we expected is what we got. Very mature young individual that's focused. He is on the right track. He's not only a great hockey individual, but he's a good person off the ice. He seemed to take a leadership role with this group right off the hop and ran away with it, and was vocal, was respectful, was everything it takes to be a Panther. His future looks bright.
— Florida Panthers director of player development Brian Skrudland on defenseman Aaron Ekblad's performance at development camp