Game 5: SHARKS at KINGS
Western Conference First Round
San Jose leads best-of-7 series 3-1
TV: 10:30 p.m. ET; CNBC, CBC, TVA Sports, CSN-CA, PRIME
LOS ANGELES - The Los Angeles Kings will go with the same lineup for Game 5 of the Western Conference First Round series that played two nights earlier in a 3-2 loss against the San Jose Sharks at SAP Center.
That means left wing Dwight King again will be on the top line playing alongside center Anze Kopitar and right wing Marian Gaborik when the Kings look to avoid elimination in Game 5 on Friday night at Staples Center.
Coach Darryl Sutter introduced that line in Game 3, when he moved left wing Milan Lucic to the second line in an effort to generate more offense.
Kopitar and Gaborik each recorded an assist in Game 4, on a goal by defenseman Luke Schenn in the third period. King, who played 14:08 was effective as a forechecker and puck-pursuer on that line.
He plans to do more of the same Friday. The Sharks lead the best-of-7 series 3-1.
"[Anze]'s a puck-possession guy and he makes our team go," King said after the morning skate Friday. "All you have to do is create space, and when you get the puck hang onto it until he gets open, and give him the puck when he needs it to make plays and then get to the net."
For King, that is a simple plan. He also believes the Kings need a simple plan as they attempt for the eighth consecutive time to avoid losing an elimination game. In their march to the 2014 Stanley Cup, the Kings won seven straight elimination games, including four in a row against the Sharks in the first round.
"We have to play desperate," King said. "We haven't played desperate enough in this series. Now, we have to, there is no other choice. We've got to make sure that we are ready."
The Kings also said they weren't counting on the Sharks being unnerved by the moment or the memories of the meltdown in 2014. Only 10 Sharks that played in that series remain.
"I'm sure it's a little bit in their minds," Kings defenseman Drew Doughty said, "but they have experience with that, too, and they know that they can't allow us to win this next game, or the next three games obviously.
So, they are definitely talking about not wanting it to happen again, and they know how hard they need to close it tonight and we know they are going to come out desperate, so we need to match or exceed that."
Here are the projected lineups:
Tomas Hertl - Joe Thornton - Joe Pavelski
Joonas Donskoi - Logan Couture - Joel Ward
Matt Nieto - Patrick Marleau - Melker Karlsson
Nick Spaling - Chris Tierney - Tommy Wingels
Paul Martin - Brent Burns
Marc-Edouard Vlasic - Justin Braun
Brenden Dillon - Roman Polak
Scratched: Dainius Zubrus, Michael Haley, Dylan DeMelo
Dwight King- Anze Kopitar - Marian Gaborik
Milan Lucic - Jeff Carter - Tyler Toffoli
Tanner Pearson - Vincent Lecavalier - Dustin Brown
Kyle Clifford - Trevor Lewis - Kris Versteeg
Jake Muzzin - Luke Schenn
Rob Scuderi - Drew Doughty
Jamie McBain - Brayden McNabb
Scratched: Andy Andreoff, Nick Shore, Kevin Gravel
Status report: Defenseman Alec Martinez, out with an undisclosed injury, did not take part in the morning skate Friday, and has not skated with the Kings since sustaining the injury in the second period of Game 1. Gaborik, who returned from a sprained knee in Game 2, has averaged 1:13 of ice time per game and has an assist and seven shots on goal.
Who's hot: Sharks right wing Joe Pavelski and defenseman Brent Burns each have five points in the series. Pavelski has four goals and Burns has four assists. Los Angeles defenseman Luke Schenn had a goal and an assist in Game 4, his first two points of the playoffs.