Tonight marks Game 2 of the Kings’ Western Conference Quarterfinal series with the San Jose Sharks. The Sharks won the series opener 4-3, Joe Pavelski scored the game-winning goal 17 seconds into the third period. The Kings are 8-15 all-time in Game 2’s of a best-of-seven series when trailing 1-0, and are 8-20 all-time in series decisions when trailing 1-0. The Kings are 21-26 all-time in Game 2’s of a playoff series.
TWO’S TROUBLE: Although the Kings have dug their way out of steep series deficits before, they know they’re playing with fire if they allow the Sharks to win again Saturday night. "Our urgency needs to step up and we need to win this next game," Drew Doughty said Friday. "It's a must-win, a home game, and we don't want to go to San Jose down 2-0 or we will be in trouble." The Sharks, who owned the NHL’s best record on the road this season, have yet to lose a game at STAPLES Center in three visits.
LINEUP: The Kings held a morning skate at STAPLES Center in anticipation of tonight’s game. Marian Gaborik was on the ice and took the first rotation on the team’s first unit alongside Anze Kopitar and Milan Lucic. Alec Martinez did not partake in the skate; Jamie McBain joined Rob Scuderi on the team’s third defensive unit. Kyle Clifford, Andy Andreoff, Nick Shore and Matt Greene remained on the ice for extra work. Jonathan Quick left the ice first and will start in net. The lines shown below are not definitive:
GABORIK – KOPITAR – LUCIC
PEARSON – CARTER – TOFFOLI
KING – SHORE – LEWIS
BROWN – LECAVALIER – VERTSEEG
(CLIFFORD – ANDREOFF)
MCNABB – DOUGHTY
MUZZIN – SCHENN
SCUDERI – MCBAIN
(MARTINEZ – GRAVEL)
THE LAST TIME AROUND: In the opening game of the series Thursday night, the Kings dropped their third-straight game to the Sharks on home ice. Jake Muzzin, Jeff Carter and Trevor Lewis scored goals for the Kings. Joe Pavelski scored two goals for San Jose, including the game-winner 17 seconds into the third period. Jonathan Quick stopped 19 of 23 shots faced in the loss, and has not registered a win in four starts against the Sharks this season. Milan Lucic led all Kings players in points scored with two assists.
GABORIK CLEARED: Marian Gaborik, who has been out of the lineup since February 12 when he suffered a Garde 3 knee sprain when he collided with the New York Rangers’ Dominic Moore, has been medically cleared to play. Gaborik missed 28 games. “He’ll go through warm-up, and he’ll declare himself,” said Darryl Sutter. “He’s been medically cleared, so it becomes a coach’s decision [and] a player’s declaration of whether he’s ready or not.” Gaborik led all Kings players in goals scored (14) during the team’s 2014 Stanley Cup Playoff run.
JAMIE’S DEBUT?: Defenseman Jamie McBain could possibly make his playoff debut tonight with Alec Martinez out of the lineup due to an undisclosed injury. McBain played in the Kings’ final four regular season games during Martinez’s initial absence, and in 44 total games, posted nine points (2G, 7A), 20 hits, 38 blocked shots, averaging 12:14 minutes per contest.
WE’RE DOING IT LIVE: Catch the ‘Kings Live’ pregame show at 7:00 PM PST on Fox Sports West, 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.