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Sharks name Stalock as Game 6 starter

by Curtis Zupke

LOS ANGELES -- San Jose Sharks goalie Alex Stalock sat at his locker stall and looked at the game notes, specifically the roster for the Los Angeles Kings. He counted off the names of the players he's seen in the American Hockey League.

Stalock knows several of the Kings' younger players from playing against them in the Calder Cup Playoffs, and he would like to use that knowledge to eliminate the Kings when he starts Game 6 of the Western Conference First Round series on Monday night at Staples Center (10 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS, CSN-CA, PRIME).

It will be his first career start in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. San Jose leads the best-of-7 series, 3-2.

San Jose coach Todd McLellan turns to Stalock after goalie Antti Niemi allowed three goals on 19 shots in a 3-0 loss in Game 5. Niemi was pulled for Stalock in that game, and Stalock stopped all 22 shots he faced in 39 minutes.

Stalock stopped 20 of 21 shots in a 1-0 loss to the Kings on Jan. 27 in his only other appearance against Los Angeles.

"Playing in the regular season this year, I got a game against them, and then getting some time in the playoffs [helped]," Stalock said. "Also, sitting on the bench watching these guys, you know how they play. It's good. We know them. We know them so well. It's a big game for us, and I think special teams … is crucial."

Asked about Stalock being more comfortable against the Kings, McLellan said, "We work backwards during the year. I was asked that question a lot. It was part of the plan in case you ever have to go to something like this. Alex is excited about playing, and we're excited having him play."

The 26-year-old Stalock didn't seem nervous about his first postseason start in a visiting arena.

"It's a chance to close out the series," Stalock said. "That's the ultimate goal."

Kings coach Darryl Sutter said the goalie change didn't alter their preparation.

"When you get into a Game 6, quite honest, one team's really fortunate to use the same lineup every game," Sutter said.

San Jose right wing Marty Havlat came off the ice early, so he could be inserted in the lineup.

There were no apparent changes in the Kings lineup after they played their best game of the series in Game 5. Captain Dustin Brown again skated with center Anze Kopitar. Sutter reunited the two earlier in the series for the first time since December, and there wasn't much rust.

"When you play with a guy for that many games, it doesn't take very long to get back into the mix of things," Brown said. "If both players are playing well, it doesn't matter who they are."

Here are the expected lineups:

SHARKS

Tomas HertlJoe ThorntonBrent Burns

Patrick MarleauLogan CoutureMatt Nieto

James SheppardJoe PavelskiTommy Wingels

Raffi TorresAndrew DesjardinsMike Brown

Matt Irwin - Dan Boyle

Justin BraunJason Demers

Scott HannanBrad Stuart

Alex Stalock

Antti Niemi

Scratched: Bracken Kearns, Matt Tennyson, Tyler Kennedy, Marty Havlat

Injured: Marc-Edouard-Vlasic (upper body injury), Adam Burish (hand)

KINGS

Marian GaborikAnze KopitarDustin Brown

Tanner PearsonJeff CarterTyler Toffoli

Dwight KingJarret StollJustin Williams

Kyle CliffordMike RichardsTrevor Lewis

Jake MuzzinDrew Doughty

Robyn RegehrSlava Voynov

Willie MitchellAlec Martinez

Jonathan Quick

Martin Jones

Scratched: Colin Fraser, Jordan Nolan, Matt Greene

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