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Kings look to capitalize on home ice against Sharks

by Adam Kimelman



Season series: The teams split four regular-season meetings, with the home team winning each time. Three of the four games were one-goal affairs, including one that went to a shootout.

Big story: The Los Angeles Kings will have home-ice advantage in a playoff series for the first time since 1992. Will they be able to take advantage of it in this all-California series?

Team Scope:

Sharks: It was a different feeling for the San Jose Sharks on Monday. They finally went to practice knowing who they would be facing in the Western Conference Semifinals.

The Sharks have been fine-tuning their own game since finishing their sweep of the Vancouver Canucks on May 7. Now they have an opponent to game plan for.

"We all want to play hockey right now," center Logan Couture said. "Guys were excited. We're anxious to get going [Tuesday]. Pretty pumped up."

The Sharks took two days off after sweeping Vancouver before getting back to work.

"They are antsy," coach Todd McLellan said. "They haven't been involved in this type of break this year at all. This is the longest that's occurred. You can tell in practice they're like racehorses. They're ready to run."

Kings: Los Angeles didn't really have a rooting interest in the series between the Anaheim Ducks and Detroit Red Wings, but the Wings winning did make the Kings' lives a bit harder in one way -- instead of a short trip to Anaheim for road games, they have to travel all the way north to San Jose -- a one-hour plane flight.

"I would have liked to have played the Ducks," defenseman Drew Doughty said. "I think we match up well with them, and it would have been good for California to have that rivalry because everyone kind of makes that rivalry so big around California. But to us, we haven't really had to battle with them like a playoff series, so I think a playoff series would have made that rivalry a lot deeper."

The trade-off, though, is having home-ice advantage for the first in 21 years -- or when Doughty was a 2-year-old in London, Ontario.

"It's huge to have home ice," Doughty said. "We get to be at home here, have our home-cooked meals, sleep in our own beds. It's just awesome. Obviously we're playing in front of our own fans, which is a bonus. St. Louis, in that first series, fed off their own fans in those first two games. I think that's a main reason they won those two. We have to do the same thing. We got to use that energy and make San Jose not want to play in our rink."

Who's hot: Sharks centers Joe Pavelski and Logan Couture tied for the team lead with eight points each in their four-game first-round sweep of the Vancouver Canucks. … Kings forward Jeff Carter scored three of his team's 12 goals in Los Angeles' six-game first-round series win against the St. Louis Blues.

Injury report: Sharks forward Adam Burish (upper body) is out. Forwards Martin Havlat (lower body) and Tommy Wingels (upper body) are questionable, as is defenseman Jason Demers (ankle). … Kings forward Kyle Clifford is questionable (undisclosed).

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