KINGS (46-28-8) at SHARKS (51-22-9)
7:30PM PT, TV: FOX SPORTS WEST, NBC SPORTS NETWORK; RADIO: AM 1150
SAY HEY, SJ: This is the third postseason matchup with the San Jose Sharks in the past four years. The Kings lost to the Sharks in six games in the 2011 Western Conference Quarterfinals, and defeated the Sharks in seven games in the 2013 Western Conference Semifinals. The Kings went 3-1-1 this year against San Jose in five regular season matchups.
STATEMENT DAY: Between these two clubs, home ice has been a major factor in recent times. In last year’s Western Conference Quarterfinal matchup with the Sharks, where the home team won every game of the series, the Kings had home-ice advantage, winning the series in seven games. Between these two clubs this season, the home team is 4-1-0; the Kings beat the Sharks 1-0 at SAP Center on January 27.
LOVE TO HATE: “We have a lot of guys that just hate to lose. I think sometimes you have two great teams and one team loves to win and one team hates to lose and I feel like the team that hates to lose will end up winning more times than not.”
Jon Rosen of LAKingsInsider.com caught up with goaltender Jonathan Quick Wednesday in preparation for Thursday evening’s series opener with the Sharks:
ONE HUNDRED %: Defenseman Drew Doughty will be in the lineup for the Kings tonight after sitting out the final four regular season games with an undisclosed upper-body injury. This deems the Kings at full health heading into their playoff opener.
“We’re a hundred percent.” Darryl Sutter told Jon Rosen Wednesday afternoon. “That was the importance of having a full practice today. A full practice means everybody out there. That’s a good thing.”
EUROLEAGUE: Coming into the playoffs, the Kings’ Europeans have been hot on the score sheet. Defenseman Slava Voynov has five points (1G, 4A) in the last four games, Marian Gaborik (3G, 9A) and Anze Kopitar (7G, 5A) have 12 points apiece in the Kings’ previous 11.
TANKING IT: The Kings begin the postseason in one of the NHL’s most hostile buildings; San Jose’s SAP Center. The Kings went 1-1-1 against the Sharks in San Jose this season, picking up a win in Northern California on January 27; the only game this season between these clubs in which the visiting team came away victorious.
Anze Kopitar buried the game’s only goal 2:04 minutes into the second period, beating San Jose’s goaltender Alex Stalock with a shifty move after receiving a pass from Jeff Carter on an odd-man rush. Jonathan Quick made 23 saves in a perfect shutout performance.
SHAKE & TANK
WE’RE DOING IT LIVE: Catch KINGS LIVE on FOX SPORTS WEST at 7:00, followed with Bob and Jim on the live play-by-play call on scene at SAP Center for puck drop at 7:30 PST. National broadcast can be seen on NBC Sports Network.