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Kings vs Sharks

Posted On Tuesday, 05.28.2013 / 3:54 PM

By Curtis Zupke -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Kings-Sharks series blog

Title defense hangs in balance for Kings in Game 7

LOS ANGELES -- During last season's Stanley Cup Playoffs, Los Angeles Kings coach Darryl Sutter veered from routine and held morning skates at Staples Center instead of the team's South Bay practice facility. He wanted his team to get a feel for a "big-game day."

Though the Kings played in many high-intensity games on the way to the Stanley Cup last spring, they never had to play a game facing elimination. In that respect, Sutter will get what he wished for Tuesday night in Game 7 of the Western Conference Semifinal series against the San Jose Sharks at Staples Center (9 p.m. ET; NBCSN, RDS, TSN).

"This is for a chance for us to defend what we have," Kings forward Justin Williams said. "There's certainly butterflies. There's everything that you can imagine. Every play's magnified and every play will be magnified, and you don't want your last game to end on a loss. You want to have good memories of the way you played in your final game.

"[The Cup run] came as a surprise last year. But this year there's a big target. There's a sense of satisfaction if someone knocks off the defending Stanley Cup champs. We don't want that to happen."

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Posted On Monday, 05.27.2013 / 7:25 PM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - Kings-Sharks series blog

Sharks' Gomez getting ready for his 10th Game 7

There will be plenty of players with lots of big-game experience competing when the San Jose Sharks and Los Angeles Kings face off Tuesday in Game 7 of their Western Conference Semifinals (9 p.m. ET; NBCSN, RDS, TSN)

Each team features players who have enjoyed Stanley Cup victories and Olympic gold.

But no one in this game, likely no one in the NHL, can rival Sharks forward Scott Gomez, who will be participating in the 10th Game 7 of his career.

"It means I'm getting old, I guess," Gomez said after practice Monday. "Someone brought that up the other day and I started thinking about all of them. I couldn't remember most of them."

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Posted On Monday, 05.27.2013 / 6:46 PM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - Kings-Sharks series blog

Sharks' experience could prove pivotal in Game 7

San Jose Sharks defenseman Dan Boyle knows all about big games. Playing for Canada, he won a gold medal at the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver with a 3-2 overtime win over the United States. Five-and-a-half years earlier, as a member of the Tampa Bay Lightning, he won the Stanley Cup with a 2-1, Game 7 victory against the Calgary Flames.

Having played in every conceivable big-game scenario, Boyle said the Sharks will just need to stay loose heading into Game 7 of the Western Conference Semifinals against the Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday night at Staples Center (9 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN, RDS).

That laid-back attitude served the Sharks well Sunday, when they forced the winner-take-all contest with a 2-1 win at HP Pavilion.

"If you get too uptight, not just in hockey but any sport, that can backfire. Definitely we had a loose locker room yesterday," Boyle said following San Jose's practice Monday. "Drawing from my experience, whether it's the Olympic gold-medal game or Stanley Cup Final, you have to be somewhat loose or the nerves will get to you a little bit."

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Posted On Monday, 05.27.2013 / 6:28 PM

By Curtis Zupke -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Kings-Sharks series blog

Kings confident heading into Game 7 vs. Sharks

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- Anze Kopitar never has played a Game 7 in the NHL. He's among a group of young Los Angeles Kings who developed in the organization long after the franchise's prior Game 7, back in 2002.

But Kopitar played many Game 7s in his head when he grew up in Slovenia and dreamed of a stage like Tuesday, when the Kings will play the San Jose Sharks in Game 7 of the Western Conference Semifinals at Staples Center (9 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN, RDS).

"I got blood under my skin just like a Canadian," Kopitar said Monday. "I don't think it's any different over in Europe either. Everybody wants to be in these types of games, and you want to raise the level of play and eventually you want to be the hero in these types of games. It's going to take a great effort [Tuesday], and we're looking forward to it."

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Posted On Sunday, 05.26.2013 / 3:56 PM

By Eric Gilmore -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Kings-Sharks series blog

Burish to return for Sharks in Game 6

SAN JOSE - One day after returning to his regular spot at right wing on the fourth line for practice, Adam Burish received the news Sunday from San Jose Sharks coach Todd McLellan he was hoping to hear. Burish is back in the lineup.

Burish hasn't played since breaking his right hand in Game 4 of the Sharks sweep of the Vancouver Canucks in the Western Conference Quarterfinals.

But he'll be in the lineup Sunday night for Game 6 of the Western Conference Semifinal series against the Los Angeles Kings at HP Pavilion. The Sharks trail 3-2 in the series and face an elimination game for the first time in this year's Stanley Cup Playoffs.

"The plan is I'm going to play," Burish said. "Unless something changes. Unless I eat some bad chicken."

Burish will skate on a line with center Andrew Desjardins and left wing Bracken Kearns. He'll also spend time on the penalty kill.

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Posted On Saturday, 05.25.2013 / 6:14 PM

By Curtis Zupke -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Kings-Sharks series blog

Kings hope to end road woes at Shark Tank

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. – There are few secrets to unearth by the time a series gets to Game 6. All the storylines have played out and it’s one or two plays that make the difference.

But the Los Angeles Kings have not been able to make that play go their way at HP Pavilion for quite some time. They last won there against the San Jose Sharks in Game 5 of the 2011 Western Conference Quarterfinal series, which they lost. Including the Stanley Cup Playoffs, L.A. is 0-4-3 in its past seven games in San Jose.

Captain Dustin Brown and teammates intend to change that and close out the semifinals against the Sharks in Game 6 on Sunday night.

“We’re preparing to go up there and win,” Brown said. “We don’t want to go up there and steal a game. We want to go up there and win a game. Your game plan doesn’t change, it’s just a mentality to go into a tough building and get the job done. There’s a difference between knowing you’re going to win and hoping you’re going to win and we got to go up there knowing we’re to win.”


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Posted On Saturday, 05.25.2013 / 5:35 PM

By Eric Gilmore -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Kings-Sharks series blog

Burish skates on fourth line, says he's ready to return

SAN JOSE -- Forward Adam Burish has been playing a game of beat the clock from the moment he broke his right hand while blocking a shot in Game 4 of the San Jose Sharks' sweep of the Vancouver Canucks in their Western Conference Quarterfinal series.

Team doctors initially ruled him out for the semifinals against the Los Angeles Kings, but Burish kept pushing to return for the series. And most signs point to him being back for Game 6 on Sunday night at HP Pavilion (8 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN, RDS), just in time to give the Sharks a boost of energy as they try to stave off elimination.

Burish skated at right wing on the fourth line during practice Saturday and said he's good to go. He's just waiting for coach Todd McLellan to give him the final OK.

"I feel ready, yeah," Burish said. "I guess it's Todd's call, but yeah, I feel pretty darn good."


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Posted On Friday, 05.24.2013 / 6:48 PM

By Eric Gilmore -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Kings-Sharks series blog

Sharks expect better effort in do-or-die Game 6

SAN JOSE -- San Jose Sharks center Logan Couture was angry and frustrated Thursday night in the wake of a 3-0 loss to the Los Angeles Kings at Staples Center in Game 5 of their Western Conference Semifinal.

Couture's mood hadn't improved much, if any, by Friday afternoon, after a brief team meeting as the Sharks tried to regroup from their worst performance of the postseason.

That might be a good thing. Couture, for one, said he plans to use his frustration as motivation Sunday against the Kings at HP Pavilion when the Sharks face an elimination game for the first time this year in the Stanley Cup Playoffs (NBCSN, RDS, TSN).

"I know I will. I hope everyone else does as well," Couture said. "I wasn't happy with the way I played personally. It's going to motivate me for Sunday's game. I hope it motivates the rest of the guys as well."

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Posted On Friday, 05.24.2013 / 6:36 PM

By Curtis Zupke -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Kings-Sharks series blog

Greene brings big presence back to Kings

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- From opening day to the end of April, the Los Angeles Kings' dressing room was quieter. They are not a chatty bunch to begin with, and when defenseman Matt Greene was gone, his deep tone was noticeably absent.

"He's a big voice in the locker room, and when he was missing this year, you could really feel it in the atmosphere in the dressing room," defenseman Rob Scuderi said. "It's not something that is necessarily needed to play well, but it lightens the atmosphere and it keeps things loose, which is a big part of a season and the playoffs. It can't be serious all the time. We certainly missed him in that way, and certainly what he brings to us on the ice. We've missed his experience and leadership."

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Posted On Thursday, 05.23.2013 / 3:55 PM

By Curtis Zupke -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Kings-Sharks series blog

Clifford likely starting on Kings' top line

LOS ANGELES -- The faces will be the same although some will be rearranged, so to speak, for Game 5 of the Western Conference Semifinals between the Los Angeles Kings and San Jose Sharks on Thursday (10:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN, RDS).

The Kings stuck with their new look at the morning skate, with captain Dustin Brown dropped to the third line and Kyle Clifford on the top line with Anze Kopitar and Justin Williams. Kings coach Darryl Sutter said Wednesday that Clifford might not stay with the top line, but for now it appears he will -- at least at puck drop.

How will Clifford mesh with Kopitar and Williams?

"Ask me at the end of 10:15 [Pacific time]," Sutter said. "Or later."

Sutter said it wasn't really about Clifford so much as the need to get better play from all his forwards. The Brown-Kopitar-Williams line has two points in the series, which prompted a change.

San Jose coach Todd McLellan stuck with his same lines and said forward Martin Havlat is out for Game 5. "And we'll just go day-by-day with him," he said.

McLellan said he didn't know if it was an advantage to see an opponent make changes.

"It's probably best to answer that later on in the series," McLellan said. "We looked at our lineup after two games and wondered if we needed to move some people around. Sometimes injuries dictate that. You guys don't know what's going in our room as far as injuries and bumps and bruises. We don't know what's going on in theirs. Sometimes minutes are cut back … because guys are hurt. We really don't know what's going through either of the locker rooms, and I'm only worried about mine right now."

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