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Posted On Saturday, 04.19.2014 / 1:09 AM

By Staff -  / - Sharks-Kings series blog

After Game 1 loss, Kings stick to team-first mentality

The Los Angeles Kings have developed a reputation over the past few seasons for playing a tight-checking, physical game that limits opponents' scoring chances. It's a system that has fostered good results for Los Angeles, including the 2012 Stanley Cup championship, but it's also one that hinges on the Kings buying into a team-first mentality.

Coach Darryl Sutter adheres to that same mentality when discussing his team publicly. He stuck to it Friday, less than 24 hours after the San Jose Sharks beat Los Angeles 6-3 in the opener of their Western Conference First Round series, when he was asked which players he expected to be better in Game 2.

"I don't think you single players out in [the Stanley Cup Playoffs] or at any time," Sutter told the media, according to LA Kings Insider. "That's not my style, and that's not what good teams do. I think that everybody will be better."

Posted On Friday, 04.18.2014 / 5:46 PM

By Corey Masisak - Staff Writer / - Sharks-Kings series blog

Sharks seek same chemistry for Game 2

SAN JOSE -- San Jose Sharks coach Todd McLellan didn't sound like someone who is planning much in the way of alterations to his lineup after a resounding Game 1 victory against the Los Angeles Kings.

The Sharks roared out to a five-goal lead Thursday and navigated some nervy moments in the third period of a 6-3 win that opened this best-of-7 Western Conference First Round series.

Game 2 is Sunday at SAP Center (10 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS, FS-W, CSN-CA), and McLellan didn't rule out lineup changes but had plenty of praise for his group after an optional skate Friday.

"We'll continue to evaluate the game," McLellan said. "We'll also look at where we are physically. I don't think fatigue will be a big factor now, but it could as the series goes on, bumps, bruises, that type of stuff, and come up with a lineup that we think will give us a chance at success in the second game."

Posted On Thursday, 04.17.2014 / 4:38 PM

By Eric Gilmore - Correspondent / - Sharks-Kings series blog

Niemi named Game 1 starter for Sharks

SAN JOSE -- San Jose Sharks coach Todd McLellan finally made it official after the morning skate Thursday at SAP Center. Goaltender Antti Niemi will start Thursday night for the Sharks against the Los Angeles Kings in Game 1 of their Western Conference First Round series in the Stanley Cup Playoffs (10:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS2, FS-W, CSN-CA).

"He's our go-to guy," said McLellan, explaining his choice of Niemi over Alex Stalock. "He's been our go-to guy for four years. He's our go-to guy in Game 1. I can tell you this, there wasn't near the amount of debate with the four of us in the coaches' room as there was with a whole bunch of you outside the coaches' room. But it was fun."

Niemi, who won the Stanley Cup in 2010 with the Chicago Blackhawks, has struggled at times this season, but he had one of his best games on April 3 against Los Angeles, making 26 saves in a 2-1 victory at SAP Center.

Posted On Wednesday, 04.16.2014 / 5:36 PM

By Eric Gilmore - Correspondent / - Sharks-Kings series blog

Sharks plan to break out greatest hits against Kings

SAN JOSE -- The last time the San Jose Sharks faced the Los Angeles Kings, they had a franchise-record 52 hits and captured a 2-1 victory April 3 at SAP Center.

The Sharks matched the Kings' physicality and actually gave more than they took that night, doling out 20 more hits than Los Angeles.

When the Sharks open the Stanley Cup Playoffs against Los Angeles on Thursday at SAP Center in Game 1 of their Western Conference First Round series (10:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS2, FS-W, CSN-CA), they know the hits have to keep coming.

"We have to be physical against this team," Sharks defenseman Jason Demers said Wednesday after practice. "They're a bigger team, but also we have size and can skate with them. I think we've just got to show we can push back too. Obviously we can't get carried away and take too many penalties because of their very good power play. We're emphasizing finishing our checks and just making it a hard series.

"A lot of people are saying it's going to go long, so might as well make it a long, hard series on them and make them earn everything they get."

Posted On Wednesday, 04.16.2014 / 3:58 PM - Sharks-Kings series blog

Kings' Brown previews Sharks series

Posted On Wednesday, 04.16.2014 / 3:55 PM - Sharks-Kings series blog

Kings' Gaborik previews Sharks series

Posted On Tuesday, 04.15.2014 / 5:55 PM

By Eric Gilmore - Correspondent / - Sharks-Kings series blog

Sharks could move Pavelski down, to center

SAN JOSE -- San Jose Sharks forward Joe Pavelski was on the move Tuesday at practice, dropping from top-line wing to third-line center.

Where Pavelski winds up Thursday at SAP Center for Game 1 of the Sharks' first-round Stanley Cup Playoffs series against the Los Angeles Kings is anyone's guess (10:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS2, FS-W, CSN-CA).

Pavelski led the Sharks with career highs of 41 goals and 79 points this season and spent most of his time at left wing on the top line with center Joe Thornton and right wing Brent Burns.

But now that rookie wing Tomas Hertl has returned from a knee injury that sidelined him for nearly four months, the Sharks are considering moving Pavelski back to third-line center and having Hertl take his spot on Thornton's line for the opener of the Western Conference First Round.

Moving Pavelski would make the Sharks stronger down the middle and better prepared to face a Kings team that has centers Anze Kopitar, Mike Richards, Jarret Stoll and Trevor Lewis.

"The debate isn’t a raving one in the coaches’ locker room," Sharks coach Todd McLellan said. "We feel equally comfortable going either way. The wild card is Tomas and making sure that he’s capable of handling minutes against the other team’s key players, and [Raffi Torres'] potential return to the lineup. A lot of that will dictate which way we’ll go."

Posted On Monday, 04.14.2014 / 3:17 PM

By Staff -  / - Sharks-Kings series blog

Sharks staying quiet on Game 1 goalie

San Jose Sharks coach Todd McLellan has decided on his starting goalie for Game 1 of the Sharks' Western Conference First Round Stanley Cup Playoff series against the Los Angeles Kings but wouldn't reveal it publicly Monday, and said he may not announce it until just before the series begins Thursday in San Jose (10:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, CBC).

McLellan said he has not informed either of his goalies, Antti Niemi and Alex Stalock, of his decision.

"I'm ready to name him," McLellan told the San Jose Mercury News. "I'm just not going to name him."

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We've got to find a way to win a game. He's played well in the minors, now he gets his opportunity. We tried [with Jonathan Bernier]. The way I look at it, you get opportunities and you make the most of it. That's what [James Reimer] did. Now another opportunity is here and Sparks ... you gotta grab it. Is he ready? We'll find out.

— Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock to the Toronto Star on recalling goalie Garret Sparks from the AHL to start Monday in his NHL debut
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