May 13, 2013, 8:44 PM EDT
The San Jose Sharks and Los Angeles Kings played each other four times during the regular season and they both won two contests. Now they have an opportunity to settle their differences in the second round of the playoffs.
The Sharks are coming off a four-game sweep of the Vancouver Canucks, but they know that defeating the defending Stanley Cup champions will be a major task.
“They’re a hard team,” Sharks defenseman Brad Stuart told CSN Bay Area. “They’re going to play hard, and every line is going to throw some physicality at you. They’re going to make it tough, and they don’t give you any ice for free, you’re going to have to work for it.”
That physicality is a big part of the Kings’ game and it’s one area where the Sharks are likely to be at a disadvantage.
The Kings lost their first two games against the St. Louis Blues in the first round, but stormed back to take the series in six games.
“We saw how intense their first series was, so they’re obviously playing real good hockey having won four straight,” Sharks forward Tommy Wingels said.
This series will also pit the 2012 Stanley Cup winning goaltender against the 2010 winner. Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick and Sharks netminder Antti Niemi were both great in the first round and figure to be key factors in this series.
Game 1 will be at the Staples Center where the Kings were 19-4-1 in the regular season and 3-0 in the first round.
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