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SHARKS at KINGS
(Sharks lead the best-of-7 series 3-2)
TV: NBCSN, CBC, RDS, CSN-CA, PRIME
Big story: After a surprising start to this Western Conference First Round series, it has played out more like what the consensus of people expected before it began. Back-to-back victories by the Los Angeles Kings have given them an opportunity to push the San Jose Sharks to a Game 7 when it appeared a few days ago that this series was going to be a rout.
Sharks: San Jose is going to have to figure out what went wrong in Game 5 and fix it if the Sharks don't want to be on the wrong side of a historical comeback. The Sharks played well for the most part in Game 4, but Saturday night was their worst effort of the series by a considerable amount.
The Sharks have talked plenty about forgetting about the previous game and moving on in this series when they were rolling along. They definitely need to play better in Game 6.
"We didn't have the puck as much, we weren't in their end as much," Sharks coach Todd McLellan said. "It's a lot to do with coming out of our zone and creating speed into their zone. When we're playing well, we've all seen it in the series, we're effective. When we're not, it slows us down and we don't get to the net as much."
Kings: After two poor efforts to start the series, Los Angeles has played well in three straight games. The Kings seem to be getting stronger as the series progresses, and goaltender Jonathan Quick's rising save percentage has been a reflection of improved play from both he and the players in front of him.
Drew Doughty said after Game 5 that it almost feels more daunting now because it took so much simply to get to the halfway point of four straight victories. Much in the way McLellan tried to avoid praise of his team when the series was 3-0, Kings coach Darryl Sutter was doing the same Sunday after practice.
"I think it's an old, old story that you should just throw in the fire and burn it. There's momentum only during games. There's no momentum during series because the games are too close," Sutter said. "There's not momentum from game to game. I was asked after the other game. It was like we had some sort of big brouha that everybody was talking about because it was a physical game. Well, it wasn't a very physical game. Everyone was worried about how that would affect last night's game. The clock stops. The clock starts. It picked up from there."
Who's hot: Alex Stalock has not allowed a goal on 26 shots after relieving Antti Niemi in each of the past two games for the Sharks. McLellan did not commit to a starter after practice Sunday. … Kings rookie Tyler Toffoli has scored in back-to-back games and Sutter said he's a big reason the series isn't over.
Injury report: After each team went four games without having any injuries, the Sharks will be without top defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic in Game 6 because of an upper-body injury. Vlasic did not play the final 45 minutes of Game 5 after a hit from Kings center Jarret Stoll. Adam Burish also remains out with a hand injury for San Jose. … The Kings should have everyone available.