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Will Kings rebound from Game 1 loss to Sharks?

by Matthew Mankiewich

(San Jose leads best-of-seven series, 1-0)


Big story:
The Kings can skate with the Sharks, they can battle with the Sharks, but can they outscore the Sharks? They roared back from 1-0 and 2-1 deficits in Game 1 to force overtime, but Joe Pavelski scored the winner 14:44 into the first OT for a 3-2 Sharks win. The Sharks are happy with their fast start, especially Dany Heatley's opening goal a franchise-record 28 seconds into the first period, but less so with the Kings' resilience.

Team scope:

Kings: Getting into a shooting match with the high-powered Sharks is a bad idea especially with top scorer Anze Kopitar out, but the Kings were able to answer San Jose goals each time during regulation.

"After the first minute, them scoring, it was a nightmare situation," center Jarrett Stoll said in the Los Angeles Times. "We got composed. We figured it out. We started moving the puck and getting it in deep and going after them."

"We did a lot of good things out there. They're a great hockey team," goalie Jonathan Quick told the Times. "We were one shot away. We had our chances."

Sharks: The Sharks want this year to be different, so different they broke out the black third jerseys for the first time in the postseason, got on the board in record time and didn't let two blown leads get them down. The result was their first postseason-opening win since 2007.

"We're trying to get to four wins in this series," Pavelski said in the San Jose Mercury News. "You have to get the first one, and we're definitely on our toes a little bit more now. Whatever jitters, we got out."

Who's hot: Physical play is a playoff staple and this first game was no exception, as a total of 79 hits were recorded, 43 by San Jose and 36 by Los Angeles. The Kings' Dustin Brown and the Sharks' Douglas Murray and Devin Setoguchi each had a game-high seven.

"It was more of a man's game tonight," Sharks defenseman Jason Demers said on the team's official website. "I think we stepped up and showed them (the Kings) that we can hit, too."

Particularly inspiring for the Kings was Justin Williams' return to the lineup off a shoulder injury. He set up one goal and scored the second.

Injury report: Kopitar's torn ankle ligaments will likely keep him out through the playoffs, while Sharks defenseman Kent Huskins, out the final 22 games of the regular season with an upper-body injury, has resumed skating but has no set return date just yet. Defenseman Ian White made his playoff debut after six NHL seasons of not making it, but his ice time was cut short by a nasty hit from Stoll late in the first period. He didn't return, and Stoll reportedly was handed a one-game suspension by the League on Friday.

Stat pack:
At least for one night, the 21st-ranked Kings power play outdid the second-ranked Sharks, going 1-for-2 in Game 1 while the PK killed both San Jose man-up opportunities.

Puck drop:
"The first game was very tight and a gritty type of game. We're comfortable playing that type of game. We have some big bodies in the lineup. It'll be a good seven-game series. They are strong. They feel comfortable along the boards. You have to give them credit for playing to their strengths. They have big bodies that hold onto the puck pretty well. We have to expect that going forward." -- Sharks coach Todd McLellan via the team's official website on what to expect the rest of the way

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