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.
That was something I've been dreaming of, something I've told myself before the third period I was going to do ... It was an amazing feeling. It's hard to describe. I didn't believe it went in at first but when I saw all the reaction and all the fans going crazy and my teammates going crazy, it's just an unbelievable feeling. I didn't know what to do. I didn't know whether to jump or just skate and do a Theo Fleury. I don't think I'm the same caliber player he is so I couldn't do it.
— Flames forward Mikael Backlund on scoring the overtime winner against the Ducks in Gm. 3