Tonight marks Game 5 of the Kings’ Western Conference Quarterfinal series with the San Jose Sharks. The Sharks regained a two-game lead in the series with their 3-2 win Wednesday night where the Kings’ late comeback efforts fell short. The Kings are 2-11 all-time in series outcomes when trailing a best-of-seven series three games to one. The Kings are 18-15 all-time in Game 5’s of a playoff series.
JUST WIN: “Going into tonight, discipline has to be the main thing, and getting the win is all that matters,” said Milan Lucic. “You can’t really overthink things, you can’t play being over-anxious, or over-excited, or let the emotions get the better of you. You have to do what you can to help your team win because that’s the most important thing, and only thing that matters going into tonight’s game.”
LINEUP: The Kings held a morning skate at STAPLES Center in anticipation of tonight’s game. No line changes seem to have been made to the ones the team used in Game 4 Wednesday night. Andy Andreoff, Nick Shore and Kevin Gravel remained on the ice for extra work and are the presumed healthy scratches. Jonathan Quick was the first goaltender to leave the ice and will start in net.
KING – KOPITAR – GABORIK
LUCIC – CARTER – TOFFOLI
PEARSON – LECAVALIER – BROWN
CLIFFORD – LEWIS – VERSTEEG
(ANDREOFF – SHORE)
SCUDERI – DOUGHTY
MUZZIN – SCHENN
MCNABB – MCBAIN
THE LAST TIME AROUND: In the Kings’ 3-2 loss to the Sharks in Game 4, San Jose’s power play was the difference. All three of the Sharks’ goals came on the man advantage as they built a 3-0 lead early in the third period. The Kings responded with goals from Trevor Lewis and Luke Schenn late, but were unable to net another. Jonathan Quick made 26 saves in the loss.
PENALTY TROUBLE: Five of the Sharks’ 10 goals scored this series have come on the power play, the Kings’ only win has come in the one game they’ve managed to keep San Jose’s power play unit off of the scoresheet. “The penalty trouble has been probably our biggest problem I think this whole series,” said Drew Doughty. “We’ve taken a lot of dumb penalties, penalties after the whistle, that they’ve capitalized on, and that’s why they’re winning. The power play is one of the best parts of their team.” The Sharks finished the season with the NHL’s third-best power play, they’ve converted on 5-of-18 chances this series, a 27.8% success rate.
NO HOSPITALITY: If the Kings are to keep their season alive tonight, they’re going to have to beat the Sharks on home ice for the first time all season. San Jose is a perfect 4-0-0 at STAPLES Center, including their two regular season visits; they’ve outscored the Kings 16-8 in Los Angeles this season. Prior to the Sharks’ run of dominance over the Kings at STAPLES Center this season, San Jose had won just one game in regulation in their previous 18 visits from the 2011-’12 season to the 2014-’15 campaign.
DESPERATION STATION: It’s win or go home for the Kings, and when it comes to that, everything needs to be left on the table. “We’ve got to play desperate, we haven’t played desperate enough in this series yet, and now we have to, there’s no other choice,” said Anze Kopitar. “We’ve got to make sure we’re ready.”
DOWN BUT NOT OUT: The Kings find themselves down three games to one in a best-of-seven playoff series for the 14th time in franchise history. Out of those previous 13 occurrences, the Kings have only come back to win the series twice, once in 2014 against the Sharks, and in 1989 against the Edmonton Oilers in the Smyth Division Semifinals.
WE’RE DOING IT LIVE: Catch the ‘Kings Live’ pregame show at 7:00 PM PST on Fox Sports West Prime Ticket, followed with Nick Nickson and Jim Fox on the live play-by-play call from STAPLES Center for puck drop just after 7:30. You can listen to Jon Rosen and Daryl Evans call the action over the radio airwaves on AM 790 KABC.