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.
I remember the first time at Wrigley Field all of us had the long johns, the turtlenecks and the extra equipment because we were afraid of being cold. Halfway through the first period everybody's ripping everything off and we just ended up wearing what we would normally wear for a game at the United Center.
— Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Sharp on the 2009 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic