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Sharks playing the role of underdogs versus Kings

Brad Stuart, Justin Williams

San Jose Sharks defenseman Brad Stuart (7) reaches for the puck between the skates of Los Angeles Kings right wing Justin Williams (14) during the second period of an NHL hockey game in San Jose, Calif., Thursday, April 3, 2014. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)


The San Jose Sharks don’t care that so many people are picking them to lose to the Los Angeles Kings.

“Why are they picking L.A.? Because they won the Cup two years ago and beat us last year, I guess,” d-man Marc-Edouard Vlasic said, accurately, per “People can pick who they want. We don’t care. It’s an evenly matched series. Last year went to seven [games], and this year I would expect the same. I don’t mind if everybody picks L.A. I’m here to win. We want to prove to ourselves that we can beat all the best teams.”

In reality, not “everybody” is picking the Kings. PHT staffers are split on the series, and online bookmaker Bovada actually made the higher-seeded Sharks, holders of home-ice advantage, a -145 favorite.

Last year, the home side won all seven games of the teams’ second-round series. This past regular season, San Jose’s 29-7-5 home record was the best in the West.

Still, there remains a feeling -- one based largely on the club’s history of postseason disappointments -- that the Sharks don’t have what it takes to go all the way.

Defenseman Dan Boyle has heard that theory many times from reporters.

“The only way to shut you guys up is to win it,” he said.

Related: Why your team won’t win the Stanley Cup