Sharks @ Kings Game Day Preview - 5/14/2013
Western Conference Semifinal Game One
Western Conference Quarterfinals
#6 San Jose Sharks (25-16-7) at #3 Vancouver Canucks (26-15-7)
Sharks WIN series 4-0
Wednesday, May 1 GAME 1 @ Vancouver 7:30pm Sharks WIN 3-1
Friday, May 3 GAME 2 @ Vancouver 7pm Sharks WIN 3-2 OT
Sunday, May 5 GAME 3 @ San Jose 7pm Sharks WIN 5-2
Tuesday, May 7 GAME 4 @ San Jose 7pm Sharks WIN 4-3OT
Western Conference Semifinals
#6 San Jose Sharks (25-16-7) at #5 Los Angeles Kings (27-16-5)
Please note all games will be carried LIVE locally on NBCSN / 98.5-102.1 FM KFOX and the Sharks Radio Network (all games listed PST)
Tuesday, May 14 GAME 1 @ Los Angeles 7pm
Thursday, May 16 GAME 2 @ Los Angeles 7pm
Saturday, May 18 GAME 3 @ San Jose 6pm
Tuesday, May 21 GAME 4 @ San Jose 7pm
*Thursday, May 23 GAME 5 @ Los Angeles 7:30pm
*Sunday, May 26 GAME 6 @ San Jose TBD
*Tuesday, May 28 GAME 7 @ Los Angeles TBD
"I think it's an incredible thing for the state of California," said Todd McLellan.
Battle in California
The San Jose Sharks face the #5 seed Los Angeles Kings in Game 1 in the best of seven Western Conference Second Round Stanley Cup Playoff series in Los Angeles on Tuesday at 7pm (PST). This will be the 30th playoff series in franchise history for the Sharks (14-15) and the 2nd playoff series meeting vs. the Los Angeles Kings.
Previous Playoff Series/Action vs. the Kings:
2011 Western Conference Quarterfinal – the #2 seed San Jose Sharks defeated the #7 seed Los Angeles Kings 4-2.
The Sharks won three overtime games vs. the Kings in the series and scored six goals in three of their four wins. Ryan Clowe led all Sharks players with seven points (4-3-7) in the series. A lot has changed since the first and only playoff meeting between the Sharks and the Kings…. as LA won the Stanley Cup in 2012.
San Jose is 65-48-7-6 all-time in the regular season vs. the Kings (including 2-2-0 this season).
Sharks vs. Kings matchups to look for:
Niemi vs. Quick:
After a shaky start in the series vs. the Blues, Jonathan Quick has been lights out. Quick went 4-2 in the first round with a 1.58 GAA and a .944 save % along with one shutout. Jonathan looks to be back in Conn Smythe form from 2012. Antti Niemi was terrific in Round 1 for the Sharks; posting a 4-0 record with a 1.86 GAA and a .937 save %. Expect a low scoring series in this one.
For the Sharks
The Sharks had five players average at least one point per game in the first round series vs. the Blues. (Pavelski 4-4-8, Couture 4-3-7, Thornton 1-4-5, Marleau 4-1-5, Boyle 1-3-4).
For the Kings
The Kings had no players average at least a point a game in the first round series vs. the Blues. Mike Richards leads all Kings with five points (0-5-5) but has not found the back of the net. Jeff Carter leads the club with three goals in six games.
Martin Havlat left after the first period of play in Game 1 vs. Vancouver with an undisclosed injury and has not played since. Adam Burish was injured in Game 4 vs. Vancouver and is not expected to start the series vs. the Kings. Jason Demers, who missed the first round vs. Vancouver is close to returning back to the Sharks lineup.
Defenseman Matt Greene missed the entire first round series vs. the Blues and is listed as day-to-day for LA.
Shark Bites: (interesting tidbits heading into Game 1)
*Game 1… the Sharks have a 15-14 record all time in Game 1’s of the Stanley Cup Playoffs with a 9-7 record on the road during Game 1.
- In the 15 Game 1 Wins… the Sharks went on to win 10 of the 15 series (66.6%)
- In the 14 Game 1 Loses… the Sharks went on to win 4 of the 14 series (28.5%)
*Niemi vs. the Kings… Antti Niemi is 3-2-0 with a 3.97 GAA in 6 career playoff games vs. Los Angeles.
*Home Sweet Home… the LA Kings have won 10 straight games at the Staples Center (including regular season).
*Close Games… Every game in the 1st round vs. the Blues was decided by one goal. (Kings won series 4-2).
*2 away… Jonathan Quick (24 playoff wins) is just two wins away from the Kings franchise leader Kelly Hrudy (26 wins).
What they are saying:
“It’s going to be a tough challenge,” said Logan Couture. We are anxious to get going…. pretty pumped up for Game 1.”
"They know all of us, and we know all of them, so there won't be many surprises," said Jarret Stoll. "They're having a great run. They're playing the right way, and they'll be fired up. Maybe they're buying in a little more, blocking more shots, and that's why they're still playing."
With the LA Kings having home ice advantage in the series, the Sharks need to find a way to win at the Staples Center (the Kings have won 10 straight at home). Expect a low scoring series with goaltenders Antti Niemi and Jonathan Quick stealing the headlines. The series might come down to special teams play… which might be a good thing for the Sharks the way their power play has been clicking. Let’s hope the Sharks continue where they left off vs. the Canucks in Game 1 vs. the Kings…. one thing is for sure, San Jose cannot play rusty with the six day lay-off or the Kings will pounce. GO SHARKS GO!
TV: NBCSN, TSN
Season series: The teams split four regular-season meetings, with the home team winning each time. Three of the four games were one-goal affairs, including one that went to a shootout.
Big story: The Los Angeles Kings will have home-ice advantage in a playoff series for the first time 1992. Will they be able to take advantage of it in this all-California series?
Sharks: It was a different feeling for the San Jose Sharks on Monday. They finally went to practice knowing who they would be facing in the Western Conference Semifinals.
The Sharks have been fine-tuning their own game since finishing their sweep of the Vancouver Canucks on May 7. Now they have an opponent to game plan for.
"We all want to play hockey right now," center Logan Couture said. "Guys were excited. We're anxious to get going [Tuesday]. Pretty pumped up."
The Sharks took two days off after sweeping Vancouver before getting back to work.
"They are antsy," coach Todd McLellan said. "They haven't been involved in this type of break this year at all. This is the longest that's occurred. You can tell in practice they're like racehorses. They're ready to run."
Kings: Los Angeles didn't really have a rooting interest in the series between the Anaheim Ducks and Detroit Red Wings, but the Wings winning did make the Kings' lives a bit harder in one way -- instead of a short trip to Anaheim for road games, they have to travel all the way north to San Jose -- a one-hour plane flight.
"I would have liked to have played the Ducks," defenseman Drew Doughty said. "I think we match up well with them, and it would have been good for California to have that rivalry because everyone kind of makes that rivalry so big around California. But to us, we haven't really had to battle with them like a playoff series, so I think a playoff series would have made that rivalry a lot deeper."
The trade-off, though, is having home-ice advantage for the first in 21 years -- or when Doughty was a 2-year-old in London, Ontario.
"It's huge to have home ice," Doughty said. "We get to be at home here, have our home-cooked meals, sleep in our own beds. It's just awesome. Obviously we're playing in front of our own fans, which is a bonus. St. Louis, in that first series, fed off their own fans in those first two games. I think that's a main reason they won those two. We have to do the same thing. We got to use that energy and make San Jose not want to play in our rink."
Who's hot: Sharks centers Joe Pavelski and Logan Couture tied for the team lead with eight points each in their four-game first-round sweep of the Vancouver Canucks. … Kings forward Jeff Carter scored three of his team's 12 goals in Los Angeles' six-game first-round series win against the St. Louis Blues.