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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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Posted On Wednesday, 05.22.2013 / 7:12 PM

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

Lack of scoring pushes Brown to Kings' 3rd line

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- The Los Angeles Kings were able to grind out a low-scoring first-round Stanley Cup Playoff series against the St. Louis Blues, but the past two second-round games against the San Jose Sharks have forced coach Darryl Sutter to make changes.

Kings captain Dustin Brown was dropped to third line right wing while Kyle Clifford took his spot on the first line with Anze Kopitar and Justin Williams at practice Wednesday.

Los Angeles has scored one goal in each of the past games, each a 2-1 loss to the San Jose in that evened the Western Conference Semifinal series at two games each.

Game 5 is Thursday at Staples Center (10:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, RDS, TSN).

"We've scored two goals in 120 minutes, so I'm not surprised by any changes," Brown said.

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Posted On Tuesday, 05.21.2013 / 5:04 PM

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

Kings look to take control of series on road in Game 4

SAN JOSE -- Playing the San Jose Sharks at HP Pavilion is never easy, but Los Angeles Kings defenseman Drew Doughty said he welcomes the chance to put a hammerlock on their Western Conference Semifinal series Tuesday night in Game 4 (10 p.m. ET; NBCSN, RDS, TSN).

"They live off playing in their own arena," Doughty said after the Kings' optional morning skate there. "To be able to get a win in their home rink I think will be a little deflating for them. We know how tough it's going to be to steal one here tonight, but we're determined to do it. If we go back to Staples [Center] up 3-1, we know there's a good chance we can close out the series. Right now it's just one game at a time, and tonight's the most important."

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Posted On Monday, 05.20.2013 / 4:46 PM

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

Clifford expects to return for Kings in Game 4

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- Kyle Clifford could return to the Los Angeles Kings' lineup for Game 4 of the Western Conference Semifinals against the San Jose Sharks when the series resumes Tuesday (10 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN, RDS).

Clifford skated with the fourth line in practice Monday, with Brad Richardson and Colin Fraser, and indicated he will be in for Game 4.

"It definitely looks that way," Clifford said. "It feels good to get back in the lineup. Playing with those guys, it's going to be a lot of fun."

Coach Darryl Sutter said that "everybody that's on the ice is available. At some point it will be good to have him back."

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Posted On Monday, 05.20.2013 / 4:23 PM

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

Sharks' Couture skips practice while Burish skates

CSNBayArea.com reported that San Jose Sharks forward Logan Couture skipped practice Monday after sustaining an injury in Game 3 of the Western Conference Semifinals against the Los Angeles Kings.

Couture was hurt in the second period when he slammed into the boards awkwardly and limped off the ice. However, he returned before the end of the second and went on to score in overtime.

The Sharks expect Couture to be ready for Game 4 of the series Tuesday (10 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN, RDS).

Also sitting out practice was Martin Havlat, who aggravated a lower-body injury in Game 3 and will not play in Game 4.

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Posted On Sunday, 05.19.2013 / 7:14 PM

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

Sharks forward Havlat out for Game 4

San Jose Sharks forward Martin Havlat will not play in Game 4 against the Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday, coach Todd McLellan said Sunday.

Havlat returned for Game 3 of the Western Conference Semifinals on Saturday after missing all but the first period of Game 1 of a first-round sweep. However, he lasted six shifts worth 4:52 of ice time before sustaining a lower-body injury.

McLellan said he did not know if the injury was related to the one Havlat sustained in the prior series against the Vancouver Canucks.

"If you're hurt and you can't play, you can't play," McLellan said. "We can be as frustrated as we want. It was hard because we had to juggle the lineup, but we talked about the difference between being injured and hurt. He's injured."

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Posted On Sunday, 05.19.2013 / 6:04 PM

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

Kings' Pearson pleased with NHL debut

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- Tanner Pearson never thought he would play with the big club when the Los Angeles Kings called him up from Manchester of the American Hockey League.

Pearson thought he would simply play with the Black Aces and act as a sort of practice squad for the regulars. But he was told the day of Game 3 against the San Jose Sharks that he would make his NHL debut in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

“It all came to reality when I first stepped on the ice to start the first with all the fans going crazy. It was pretty loud in that building but it was fun to be a part of it,” Pearson said Sunday.

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Posted On Sunday, 05.19.2013 / 6:02 PM

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

Kings try to refocus for Game 4, but OT loss lingers

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- A day passed for the Los Angeles Kings to let their emotions settle down, only to have reality set in.

Two late penalties drew all the attention -- and complaints from Kings players -- after a 2-1 overtime loss to the San Jose Sharks in Game 3 of the Western Conference Semifinals. That obscured that Los Angeles was uncharacteristically undisciplined, again allowed a lot of shots, yielded much offensive-zone time, and continued to see little production from its top line.

L.A. gave San Jose five power plays in Game 3, its most times shorthanded since Game 1 of the quarterfinals against the St. Louis Blues. Prior to that, the Kings had not given the opposition five power plays since Feb. 17.

"I'm not happy taking that many penalties," Kings coach Darryl Sutter said Sunday. "It doesn't matter if we agreed with the calls or not. It doesn't have any impact on anything."

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Posted On Saturday, 05.18.2013 / 9:20 PM

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

Havlat in Sharks lineup for Game 3

SAN JOSE -- Just minutes after the San Jose Sharks' morning skate ended Saturday, coach Todd McLellan got the news he had been waiting for regarding injured forward Martin Havlat.

"He came to see me and said he's ready to go," McLellan said. "So we'll find a spot for him."

The Sharks trailed the Los Angeles Kings 2-0 in their Western Conference Semifinal series heading into Game 3 Saturday (NBCSN, TSN, RDS). With Havlat back in the lineup, the Sharks' lines have a new look at HP Pavilion.

Havlat had been out with a lower-body injury since midway through the first period of Game 1 of the Sharks' Western Conference Quarterfinal series against the Vancouver Canucks.

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Posted On Friday, 05.17.2013 / 7:10 PM

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

Havlat trying to return to Sharks for Game 3

San Jose Sharks forward Martin Havlat said Friday it's possible he could return to the lineup for Game 3 against the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday (9 p.m. ET, NBCSN, RDS, TSN).

"Getting better. We'll see how it goes tomorrow morning," Havlat said, according to CSN Bay Area. "We'll see. Like I said, we’ll see how it feels tomorrow. It's getting closer and closer."

The Sharks trail the best-of-7 Western Conference Semifinal 2-0 after squandering a 3-2 lead in the final two minutes of Game 2 at Staples Center, losing 4-3 on two Kings power-play goals 22 seconds apart.

"That's Marty, mother nature and the trainer's decision," coach Todd McLellan said of Havlat's possible return for the game at HP Pavilion. "I can't speed any of those up as a coach. I hope that one day soon that he comes knocking on my door and tells me that he's ready to go, because we could sure use him."

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Posted On Friday, 05.17.2013 / 6:12 PM

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

Kings looking to improve on road

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- It was easy for the Los Angeles Kings to joke and shrug off a dangerous-looking facial injury to Anze Kopitar a day later.

Kopitar said he needed about 20 stitches to close a cut near his mouth after he was hit by the puck on a shot by teammate Dustin Brown in the third period of Game 2 of the Western Conference Semifinal series Thursday night.

"There goes the modeling career," coach Darryl Sutter joked. "Best looking Slovenian athlete."

Informed of Sutter's comment, Kopitar said, "I think that ship has sailed long time ago."

Kopitar returned to the "Rocky" theme song at Staples Center, and the Kings delivered one of the franchise's greatest comeback wins in the Stanley Cup Playoffs when they erased a 3-2 deficit in the final two minutes for a 4-3 win against the San Jose Sharks.

Modeling jokes aside, the Kings must put on a serious face as the best-of-7 series moves to HP Pavilion for Games 3 and 4. L.A. leads, 2-0, but it is somewhat misleading given it was largely outplayed in both games.

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Posted On Thursday, 05.16.2013 / 3:41 PM

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

No Torres, Stoll means line shifting for Sharks, Kings

LOS ANGELES -- Joe Pavelski will take Raffi Torres' spot, at least at the start, when the San Jose Sharks play the Los Angeles Kings in Game 2 of the Western Conference Semifinal series Thursday night.

San Jose coach Todd McLellan also moved Scott Gomez up to third-line center and will insert Tim Kennedy on the fourth line. Torres faced an NHL hearing in New York on Thursday for his hit on Jarret Stoll of the Los Angeles Kings and will not be available.

"We discussed a lot of different options, and I don't know if this is written in stone by an means," McLellan said after the morning skate. "We've got to start somewhere and see where it goes. The majority of their scoring from the Kings have come from their top two lines -- eight of their 14 [goals]. The odds are that they're going to continue to have an impact in games going forward.

"We like [Pavelski] there, we think he's a responsible two-way guy, and he has an ability to help out in the faceoff circle against a [Anze] Kopitar or a [Mike] Richards for the most part, so we think that's important."

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Posted On Wednesday, 05.15.2013 / 8:52 PM

By Brian Compton -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - Kings-Sharks series blog

Sharks trying to solve Kings goalie Quick

The San Jose Sharks were feeling the same frustration Tuesday night experienced by the St. Louis Blues during the latter's final four games of the opening round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

No matter what the Sharks did in Game 1 of their Western Conference Semifinal against the Los Angeles Kings, they could not solve 2012 Conn Smythe Trophy winner Jonathan Quick. The Kings goaltender stopped all 35 shots he faced, including 16 in the third period, to lead Los Angeles to a 2-0 win at Staples Center.

After dropping the first two games of the postseason, the Kings have won five in a row. Much of that is due to the play of their goaltender, who lowered his goals-against average to 1.36 while raising his save percentage to .953.

"He's in a zone right now. He's playing great," Sharks forward Logan Couture said Wednesday. "He's seeing everything, he's compact with the puck. It's hitting him and it's not coming off him. We've got to find a way. The St. Louis series, they were saying the same things that I'm saying right now. We've got to find a way to score."

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Posted On Wednesday, 05.15.2013 / 8:29 PM

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

Torres' status uncertain, Sharks prepare for Game 2

The San Jose Sharks won't know if they'll have forward Raffi Torres available to play Thursday night until earlier in the day.

But the team is prepared to face the Los Angeles Kings in Game 2 of the Western Conference Semifinals with or without him.

"Well, we've got other players if Raffi can't play," coach Todd McLellan told the team's website Wednesday. "We've got other people that we can put in. We'll look at our lines, we'll look at how we can best use those people.

"There's been a number of players that have been skating, and I've been waiting for this opportunity. So if it does come to that, we feel confident."

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Posted On Wednesday, 05.15.2013 / 6:31 PM

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

Richardson will take Stoll's place for Kings

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- Lost in the wonder of the Los Angeles Kings’ stomp through the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs was how healthy they stayed. Los Angeles basically used the same lineup, with the exception of injured Kyle Clifford.

This season is entirely different, and the latest adjustment will be the absence of Jarret Stoll after he was knocked out of Game 1 of their Western Conference Semifinal series Tuesday night.

San Jose Sharks Raffi Torres delivered the hit and was scheduled for a hearing with the NHL.

Stoll presumably has an upper-body injury, and coach Darryl Sutter said Wednesday, "He’s missing in action” and day-to-day. Asked if it’s a long-term injury, Sutter said, “How long is the series?”

Game 2 is Thursday at Staples Center, and Game 7 is scheduled for May 28. The Kings lead 1-0 after a 2-0 win in Game 1.

Torres hit Stoll at the end of the second period. Stoll did not return to the game, and Torres received a charging penalty.

Sutter said, “I thought [the hit] was careless” and wouldn’t comment on if he thought it was a suspendable offense.

“Who are we to even talk about that stuff?" Sutter said. "Totally leave it to the League and principals to look at those things. It’s just frustrating to see that, that’s all.”

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Posted On Monday, 05.13.2013 / 5:11 PM

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

Kings happy with rare home-ice advantage

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- The sexy Southern California matchup dissipated into the warm air here, but the Los Angeles Kings still will have their hands full with an in-state divisional rival.

The Kings gathered at their practice facility with an opponent and a date: Game 1 of the Western Conference Semifinals against the San Jose Sharks is Tuesday at Staples Center.

The alternative would have been playing an epic inaugural Stanley Cup Playoff series against the rival Anaheim Ducks.

"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."

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Quote of the Day

They said, 'You're going to love the city. It's smaller than Philadelphia, but you're going to love it. You're going to love the fans. Just watching the playoffs last year, the fans seemed louder there than they did anywhere. I'm really excited about that.

— Forward Scott Hartnell on his upcoming season with the Columbus Blue Jackets