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KINGS at SHARKS
(San Jose leads best-of-7 series, 3-1)
TV: CNBC, CBC, RDS, FS-SW, CSN-CA
Big story: After another high-scoring affair in Game 4, the San Jose Sharks have a second chance to finish off the Los Angeles Kings in their Western Conference First Round series. The teams have combined for 34 goals in the four games, one year after having 24 between them in a seven-game series in the 2013 conference semifinals.
Kings: Los Angeles coach Darryl Sutter affectionately called SAP Center "the cage" after his team stayed alive with a 6-3 win in Game 4. It is one of the loudest arenas in the NHL, and the Sharks have certainly enjoyed playing there. San Jose went 29-7-5 at home during the regular season, collecting a League-best 63 points. The Sharks have beaten the Kings five straight times at home during the playoffs and 12 of 13 times since the start of the 2011-12 season.
"They come out hard. They take a lot of pride in playing in front of their fans. They have great fans there and yeah, they're loud," Kings forward Jarret Stoll said. "You have to be ready especially for the start of the game that first 10 minutes. Everybody says it but it's true. You have to weather the storm and you have to try to take your game to them right away and get them on their heels."
Sharks: After dictating the pace for much of the first three games of the series, the Sharks still had plenty of chances to score in Game 4. Coach Todd McLellan said after the game he was more concerned with the goals that went in at San Jose's end of the ice than any number of missed chances for the Sharks.
McLellan pulled Antti Niemi after he allowed five goals on 28 shots, but made sure to not he was not singling out the goaltender for poor play.
"There's a few things that we can do better," San Jose defenseman Brad Stuart told Kevin Kurz of CSN Bay Area. "The play around both nets probably, our net and their net. Be a little more cohesive on our forecheck, make sure we're getting guys into position quicker and working together a little bit better. That will help us play a faster game."
Who's hot: Los Angeles center Anze Kopitar has four points in the series and has 14 points (seven goals) in his past 12 games. … San Jose's Patrick Marleau had two assists Thursday and leads all scorers with seven points. That's one more than teammate Joe Pavelski, who has nine goals and 18 points in his past 13 games, going back to the regular season.
Injury report: The Kings should have everyone available for Game 5. … The Sharks are missing forward Adam Burish (hand) but everyone else should be available.