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Posted On Thursday, 04.24.2014 / 5:02 PM

By Corey Masisak -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Sharks-Kings series blog

Sharks' duo of Thornton, Burns problematic for Kings

LOS ANGELES -- The Los Angeles Kings are one of the biggest, toughest teams in the NHL. They have been so successful the past two seasons in part because of their ability to make their size and toughness an advantage, wearing out opposing teams with their brand of "heavy hockey."

That's why it was surprising to hear Kings coach Darryl Sutter say Thursday morning his team has had trouble dealing with the size of the top line for the San Jose Sharks. He's even going to make a tactical change to combat the problem for Game 4 of their Western Conference First Round Series at Staples Center (10:30 ET, NBCSN, CBC, RDS, FS-SW, CSN-CA).

Sutter is moving captain Dustin Brown to his top line, and the expectation will be for him to help neutralize San Jose's Joe Thornton and Brent Burns.

"I think they've played their game, the same way they've played all year," San Jose coach Todd McLellan said. "[Burns] is somewhat reckless, which enhances his ability to play. He's a big body that goes [hard]. [Thornton] has always been 6-foot-4 for … however many years. They're on the same line together and they've done a good job to this point."

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Posted On Thursday, 04.24.2014 / 3:29 PM

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

Kings coach Sutter to reunite Brown with Kopitar

LOS ANGELES -- Los Angeles Kings captain Dustin Brown has long known that center Anze Kopitar is a worthy candidate for the Selke Trophy. He'll get a reminder of that Thursday when he's reunited on a line with Kopitar.

Brown was back with Kopitar on the top line, with Marian Gaborik at left wing, at the Kings morning skate. Coach Darryl Sutter normally doesn't address such changes, but he confirmed there will be one wrinkle when the Kings try to avoid a sweep by the San Jose Sharks in Game 4 of the Western Conference First Round series at Staples Center (10:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS, CSN-CA, FS-W).

"Hopefully it gives [us] a little size and power," Sutter said. "That line, I think, when we play against [San Jose center Joe] Thornton, we've had trouble with his size and [right wing Brent] Burns and Thornton, quite honest. To answer it the best, we've talked to players and coaches about very much staying [with] seven defensemen, 11 forwards, so we need guys moving around."

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Posted On Wednesday, 04.23.2014 / 5:32 PM

By Corey Masisak -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Sharks-Kings series blog

Healthy Sharks thriving against physical Kings

LOS ANGELES -- The San Jose Sharks and Los Angeles Kings have engaged in an incredibly physical Western Conference First Round series, but the Sharks are also relatively healthy.

Health is a relative term in the NHL at this time of year, but compared to other top contenders in the West, San Jose has been fortunate despite the rugged nature of its three victories, with the latest 4-3 in overtime Tuesday.

"We're like everybody else. There is some bumps and bruises floating around every team," Sharks coach Todd McLellan said. "If you're not bumped and bruised, you're probably out. That's just the way it is. It comes with the territory."

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Posted On Tuesday, 04.22.2014 / 9:50 PM

By Corey Masisak -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Sharks-Kings series blog

Kings shake up lines for Game 3 vs. Sharks

LOS ANGELES -- Darryl Sutter said his Los Angeles Kings were losing the depth battle in this Western Conference First Round series against the San Jose Sharks, and potential new forward lines Tuesday in Game 3 (10 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS, CSN-CA, PRIME) at Staples Center might be his attempt to rectify that problem.

Mike Richards was centering the fourth line during pregame warmups for the Kings, with Jeff Carter sliding into the middle on the second unit. Trevor Lewis, who has two of the Kings' five goals in the series, moved up next to Carter. Rookie Tanner Pearson skated on the third line, and Kyle Clifford was not on the ice.


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Posted On Tuesday, 04.22.2014 / 4:31 PM

By Corey Masisak -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Sharks-Kings series blog

Pavelski back on Sharks' top line for Game 3

LOS ANGELES -- It appears first-line wing will be Joe Pavelski's assigned role for the San Jose Sharks in Game 3 of their Western Conference First Round series.

Well, that's where he'll start, anyway.

Pavelski began Game 2 on San Jose's top line against the Los Angeles Kings but moved to center of the third unit after his first shift of the second period with the Sharks down 2-0. The fourth line scored almost immediately after the change, and the Sharks swallowed the Kings with seven straight goals and wave after wave of offensive pressure to take a 2-0 lead in the best-of-7 Stanley Cup Playoff series.

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Posted On Tuesday, 04.22.2014 / 2:48 PM

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

Doughty seeks more minutes; Kings recall Fraser

LOS ANGELES -- The downside to the Los Angeles Kings playing seven defensemen is it cuts down the ice time for Drew Doughty, and the Norris Trophy candidate let it be known that didn't sit well with him.

Doughty played 23:29 in Game 2 of the Western Conference First Round series against the San Jose Sharks, his lowest since March 22, excluding the April 3 game that he left with an injured shoulder. Doughty doesn't see much use in going back to seven defensemen for Game 3 on Tuesday at Staples Center (10 p.m. ET; CBC, RDS, NBCSN, CSN-CA, PRIME).

"I think everyone gets out of rhythm when you dress seven D, for sure," Doughty said. "I only played 23 minutes. That's like the lowest I've played in who knows how long. I want to be playing 28-30 minutes. I didn't like it too much, but it's not my decision. Whatever they decide as a team, I just have to go along with it and accept. If they dress seven again tonight, I'm totally fine with it. I just have to play my game and make a difference out there."

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Posted On Monday, 04.21.2014 / 6:12 PM

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

Kings coach Sutter wants better work ethic

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- When Darryl Sutter arrived in Los Angeles three years ago, he constantly told reporters that he doesn't designate between first, second, third and fourth lines. It was an act, but Sutter wanted it known that all players are equal on his team.

Contrast that with Sutter's blunt assessment after his Los Angeles Kings fell into a 2-0 series deficit against the San Jose Sharks in the Western Conference First Round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Sharks are playing a quicker game, and their fourth line simply outplayed the Kings' in Game 2.

"I thought that our third and fourth line and our fifth and sixth defensemen could match up better against their third and fourth line," Sutter said Monday. "It hasn't happened yet."

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Posted On Sunday, 04.20.2014 / 4:47 PM

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

Kings look for better start vs. Sharks in Game 2

SAN JOSE -- For San Jose Sharks coach Todd McLellan, the third period of his team's 6-3 win Thursday night against the Los Angeles Kings in Game 1 of their Western Conference First Round series turned out to be a valuable "teaching tool."

The Sharks built a 5-0 lead through two periods, then allowed three straight goals in the third before Brent Burns scored an empty-net goal. The Sharks were reminded what could happen Sunday night in Game 2 if they lose their aggressiveness against the Kings.

"If you play on your heels, you stand back, you give them time and space and the ability to generate speed and get their forecheck going, you have no chance of winning," McLellan said after the Sharks' morning skate at SAP Center."


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Posted On Saturday, 04.19.2014 / 6:33 PM

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

Kings rest up at home, prepare for Game 2

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- Two days off between games meant two more days of analyzing a loss for the Los Angeles Kings, but at least they did so from home.

The Kings returned after a Game 1 loss to the San Jose Sharks in the Western Conference First Round and there was something to be said for sleeping in their own beds and seeing their families before returning to San Jose for Game 2 on Sunday at SAP Center (10 p.m. ET, CBC, RDS, NBCSN, FS-W, CSN-CA).

"To be honest, there's not a whole lot going on in downtown San Jose," Anze Kopitar said. "It was nice to come back here and get away from the circus that is going on [in the hockey world]. Just getting away a little bit, you feel comfortable around here. When you can sleep in your own bed for a couple of nights instead of hotel rooms, it's nice. Sometimes seeing your family and getting your mind away from everything helps."

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Posted On Saturday, 04.19.2014 / 4:54 PM

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

Sharks' Brown relishes physical play, role as agitator

SAN JOSE -- San Jose Sharks forward Mike Brown said it was a case of hit or be hit early in the first period of Game 1 of their Western Conference First Round series against the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday.

After firing a shot at goaltender Jonathan Quick from close range on a rush, Brown saw Kings defenseman Slava Voynov headed his way at full speed, trying to cut him off.

So Brown did what came natural. He put his left shoulder into Voynov and sent him flying into Quick. Voynov wound up on the ice and Quick wound up sprawled in the back of his net, sparking a scrum.

"It's just like bowling," Brown said wryly. "Strike's better than a spare."

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Quote of the Day

You don't see many. The [Drew] Doughtys, the [P.K.] Subbans, those are guys that create offense from the back and then on top of that ability, the size that he has. In the West you play against some pretty big players, and being able to clear the crease and contain the [Ryan] Getzlafs and the [Corey] Perrys and [Anze] Kopitars and players like that, we're excited about him going back there.

— Sharks general manager Doug Wilson on Brent Burns returning back to defense