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Five keys for Sharks vs. Kings, Game 3

San Jose has to be better at home; Los Angeles needs to get shots on net

by Shawn P. Roarke @sroarke_nhl / Director of Editorial

SAN JOSE -- The Los Angeles Kings and San Jose Sharks will play Game 3 of the Western Conference First Round at SAP Center on Monday (10:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports, PRIME, CSN-CA). The Sharks lead the best-of-7 series 2-0.

Here are five keys for Game 3:

1. Order takeout: The Sharks didn't find home cooking to their liking during the regular season, when they were markedly better on the road. San Jose won the first two games of this series in Los Angeles and was 28-10-3 away from SAP Center in the regular season, the best road record in the NHL. The Sharks were below .500 at home, going 18-20-3.

San Jose won the first two games at Staples Center despite Los Angeles coach Darryl Sutter being able to dictate matchups after every stoppage. The Sharks appear comfortable with the matchups as they are and likely won't try to get away from a showdown between the top lines from each team. San Jose's first line of Joe Pavelski, Joe Thornton and Tomas Hertl has completely outplayed the Kings' top line, which has consistently been anchored by center Anze Kopitar but saw a rotating cast on the wings in Game 2.

2. Stay on an even keel: The Sharks should know they have accomplished nothing yet. They are only halfway to their goal of four wins and they know the next two victories, if they come, will be the hardest to get. The painful reminder of 2014, when San Jose blew a 3-0 series lead to Los Angeles, may not be talked about much, but the scars remain for those still with the Sharks. The leadership group here needs to treat this series like it is just starting.

"It means it's a good start. That's all it means," Pavelski, the captain, said after back-to-back wins in Los Angeles.

Coach Peter DeBoer believes the Sharks have learned their lessons and will not have a letdown.

"The core group, they've seen almost everything," DeBoer said. "I don't think overconfidence is going to be an issue. We've got a lot of respect for L.A. and we know they're a long way from done."

Video: SJS@LAK, Gm2: Pavelski fires it by Quick for the lead

3. Stop beating themselves: The Kings are not far off in this series. They have lost each game by a goal and have done some things pretty well. At this time of the year, good is not good enough, though. They have to be better and eliminate the mistakes that have plagued them in each of the first two games.

On San Jose's first goal in Game 2, forwards Dwight King and Nick Shore chased the puck to the half-wall, leaving Pavelski wide open in the high slot for an uncontested shot, which beat goaltender Jonathan Quick over the shoulder. The second goal was scored on a 5-on-3 power play.

"We're beating ourselves out there, said forward Marian Gaborik, who played for the first time since Feb. 12. "We have to correct a lot of things. We didn't generate a whole lot of scoring chances. We have to have [San Jose goalie Martin] Jones work way more than he's been working. We had a pretty good surge at the end there, but it was too late. We have to regroup, go to San Jose, and come back with a tied series."

4. Don't panic: All is not lost for the Kings. They have come back in series before, including against San Jose two years ago. They have a tested core that has been forged by playing big games and have a world-class goalie in Quick, who can steal a game -- and a series -- when at his peak.

Los Angeles has enjoyed success at SAP Center in the past, and this generation of Kings has generally thrived while playing in hostile environments.

"I think our team as a whole has been good in that rink," center Tyler Toffoli said. "I think we know what to expect, the type of atmosphere it is going to be. You want to be playing at this time of year and you got to be ready for it. We just have to play our game."

Video: SJS@LAK, GM2: Levacalier gets Kings on the board

5. Target practice: Sutter was seething about the number of times his team missed the net with shots in Game 2, believing that, too often, the Kings let Jones off the hook by firing wide or high on Grade A chances. The Kings missed the net 25 times and had another 27 shots blocked. Jones made 26 saves.

"You need to try to hit the net with a purpose, even if it is not a great chance, there can be a rebound or a second chance," Gaborik said. "We have to get those second and third chances and find pucks and just make it difficult for Jones."

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