Tonight marks the first game of the Kings’ Western Conference Quarterfinal series against the San Jose Sharks. The Sharks finished their regular season with a 2-1-0 record; they’re coming off of a 1-0 win over the Arizona Coyotes on Saturday night. The Kings finished with a 2-0-1 mark; they’re coming off of a 4-3 OT loss to the Winnipeg Jets on Saturday.
LINEUP: The Kings held a morning skate at STAPLES Center in anticipation of tonight’s game. Alec Martinez skated alongside Rob Scuderi and Jake Muzzin and is likely to return to the lineuo after missing four games due to an undisclosed injury. Marian Gaborik joined the team for the skate but remained on the ice for extra work with Nick Shore, Jamie McBain, Matt Greene and Jhonas Enroth, he is not expected to return to the lineup quite yet. Jonathan Quick was the first goaltender to leave the ice and will start in net.
LUCIC – KOPITAR – PEARSON
BROWN – CARTER – TOFFOLI
KING – LECAVALIER – VERSTEEG
CLIFFORD – ANDREOFF – LEWIS
(SHORE – GABORIK)
MCNABB – DOUGHTY
MUZZIN – SCHENN
SCUDERI – MARTINEZ
(MCBAIN – GREENE)
THE LAST TIME AROUND: In the Kings’ final regular season meeting with the Sharks on March 28 at San Jose’s SAP Center, the home team was victorious for the first time in the teams’ five meetings, the Sharks winning 5-2. Vincent Lecavalier scored both goals for the Kings; the Sharks scored three goals in the third period, including an empty-netter, to secure the win. Jonathan Quick stopped 26 of the 30 shots he faced.
SEASON SERIES: The Kings posted a 2-3-0 record in five regular season meetings with the Sharks, winning two of their three games at San Jose’s SAP Center while dropping both contests played at STAPLES Center. The Sharks outscored the Kings 18-13, 8-3 in the third period. Tyler Toffoli (3G, 2A) and Jeff Carter (2G, 3A) led all Kings players in points scored against the Sharks (5), Joe Pavelski (4G, 6A) in points registered against the Kings (10).
QUICK REBOUND: Kings’ goaltender Jonathan Quick has been on the losing end of all three of his starts against the Sharks this season; Jhonas Enroth was in net for both of the team’s victories against San Jose. Quick allowed 13 goals on 84 shots faced against. Quick is 14-9-5 in 29 career regular season starts against San Jose with a .906 SV% and a 2.60 GAA and 10-10 in 20 career postseason starts with a .925 SV% and a 2.54 GAA.
SEEING JONER: Former Kings goaltender Martin Jones will make his first-career postseason start tonight, he appeared in two playoff games in relief of Jonathan Quick in 2014. In 65 starts this season, Jones posted a 37-23-4 record with a .918 SV% and a 2.27 GAA with six shutouts.
ROAD SAVVY: The Kings may have home-ice advantage, but the San Jose Sharks finished the season with the NHL’s best road record, posting a 28-10-3 mark away from SAP Center. The Sharks went 2-0-0 at STAPLES Center this season, beating the Kings on October 7 and 5-3 on December 22.
PLAYOFF HISTORY: This will be the team’s fourth postseason meeting in six years; the Kings have won two of the three series’ played. The Sharks beat the Kings in six games in the 2011 Western Conference Quarterfinal, the Kings have won the previous two series’ in seven games, the Western Conference Semifinal in 2013 and the Western Conference Quarterfinal in 2014. This will be the second time the Kings have had home-ice advantage in a playoff series against the Sharks, the first coming in 2013.
SPECIAL ATTRIBUTE: There’s no question the success of San Jose’s power play will go a long way in telling the tale of how this series plays out. The Sharks posted the league’s third-best man-advantage unit with a 22.5% success rate during the regular season. The Sharks scored five power play goals against the Kings in 23 opportunities this season, can they stay out of the penalty box and keep San Jose’s high-powered offense working in five-on-five situations?
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 just after 7:30. You can listen to Jon Rosen and Daryl Evans call the action over the radio airwaves on AM 790 KABC.