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Five keys for Sharks vs. Kings, Game 5

Forgetting past, trusting depth could help San Jose close out series

by Shawn P. Roarke @sroarke_nhl / Director of Editorial

LOS ANGELES -- The Los Angeles Kings and San Jose Sharks play Game 5 of their Western Conference First Round series Friday at Staples Center (10:30 p.m. ET; CNBC, CBC, TVA Sports, CSN-CA, PRIME).

The San Jose Sharks lead the series 3-1.

Here are five keys to Game 5:

1. Embrace the Past: Ignoring history is a tactic the San Jose Sharks are likely to apply in Game 5, choosing not to remember they failed on four straight opportunities to eliminate the Kings in 2014.

But the Kings want to remember what happened in 2014. They want to embrace that feeling of invincibility they developed during a magical run to the Stanley Cup. They want to pass those lessons on to the new players on the roster.

In 2014, the last time the Kings made the playoffs, they went 7-0 in games in which they could be knocked out of the tournament.

In the scenario the Kings now face, every little edge helps, says defenseman Drew Doughty.

"It's a new series, new game, but having the experience of being down before in a series, that definitely can help," he said. "There are some guys in here that haven't played too many playoff games, and some guys who have and can give some of their knowledge to those guys.

"We've been in this position before and obviously it is not where we want to be, but we have to make the best use of it now and win the next three games. It starts with winning one on home ice."

Video: LAK@SJS, Gm4: Doughty plays goalie, robs Thornton

2. Attention to detail: The Los Angeles Kings can't win the series on Friday. They can only extend it to Sunday. They have to remember that and play accordingly.

To earn the right to play a Game 6, they are going to have to win the majority of the small battles that will make up Game 5.

"All we are trying to do now is get one [win]," defenseman Rob Scuderi said. "Guys that have been in this room, whether be on this team or another one, down in a series, know we are just trying to get one and get it back to San Jose. It starts with small things."

Said Anze Kopitar, the Kings No. 1 center: "It's getting ready, getting off to a good start and go from there; stay out of the box and make sure the power play gives you momentum. Those are all clichés but you have to do them."

3. Get Mental: Left wing Dwight King says the Kings know what they have to do tactically, but it is more important they approach those assignments with a dialed-in attitude.

He doesn't believe the battle of special teams is as one-sided as it appeared in Game 4, when the Sharks scored three power-play goals and the Kings had none in a 3-2 loss. The Kings know how to stop the Sharks in those situations; they just have to apply themselves better.

"Last game was a prime example of our special teams needing to be better," King said. "It's something that we looked at. It's more of a mentality than Xs and Os at this point of the year. We're aware of that and we need to be a lot better if we want to win games."

Video: LAK@SJS, Gm4: Pavelski buries Thornton's pass for PPG

4. Trust Factor: One of the keys for the Sharks this season has been using its depth to an advantage.

In Game 4, the Sharks had to nurse a one-goal lead for more than half the third period, but coach Peter DeBoer kept rolling four lines, keeping San Jose as fresh as possible for the desperate final minutes of the game.

"Whoever goes over the boards has a job to do," first-line center Joe Thornton said, "and we all know what the job is to do and we all feel comfortable that whoever is out there will do that job. We really do trust each other to get that job done, and that really is a nice feeling to have."

5. Stay Disciplined: This actually applies to both teams in different ways.

The Kings have been over-aggressive, taking several penalties for behavior after the whistle.

"A lot of our penalties have been … in scrums and things like that, which we don't need," Doughty said. "We can play within the whistles with emotion."

For the Sharks, the mantra remains to take whatever liberties by the Kings directed their way and hope they are penalized. San Jose has scored 10 goals in the four games, and five have been on the power play.

"After the whistle, you have to stay away from it," Vlasic said of the extra-curricular activity. "They got a couple of penalties after the whistle. We talk about not doing that and we got some goals on the power play because of it."

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