Skip to content

Five Q’s: Kings-Sharks preview

May 14, 2013, 2:42 PM EDT

KingsSharks

How rare is it for the Kings to have home ice advantage?

Pretty rare — Los Angeles hasn’t had home ice in a series in 21 years.

LA lost the ’92 Smythe Division semifinals to the Vincent Damphousse-led Oilers. Luc Robitaille, currently serving as the Kings’ President of Business Operations, led all scorers with seven points in six games.

So yeah. Long time ago.

Aside from the historical stuff, getting home ice is a huge boon for the Kings. They’re riding a 10-game win streak at Staples and finished the regular season with the NHL’s best home record (19-4-1).

Will the layoff affect the Sharks?

San Jose hasn’t played since last Tuesday, when they swept Vancouver with a 4-3 OT victory in Game 4.

A full week off is a rarity, especially after a condensed 48-game season — but the Sharks have heard the rust versus rest debate, and know which side of the argument they’re on.

“Staying sharp — it’s stuff that we do every day, you just want to make sure you stay on top of it,” defenseman Dan Boyle told the San Jose Mercury News. ““People often talk about rust coming back, but I’ll take rust over getting beat up over the course of seven games.”

If the Sharks want a blueprint on how to handle time off, they should copy the Kings.

Last postseason, LA had six days off between Rounds 1 and 2 (swept the Blues), seven days off between Round 2 and the Western Conference finals (beat the Coyotes in five), and eight days off between the Western Conference and Stanley Cup finals (defeating the Devils in 6 to win it all.)

Has Jonathan Quick reverted to form?

Quick blamed himself for LA falling into a 2-0 series deficit against the Blues in Round 1, and with good reason — a puckhandling gaffe in Game 1 and Barret Jackman‘s lengthy slapper in Game 2 had a people wondering if the luster had worn off last year’s playoff MVP.

Well, it didn’t.

Quick responded by winning four straight games to close out the series, stopping 104 of 110 shots (.945 save percentage) along the way and earning huge respect from Blues head coach Ken Hitchcock.

“That’s what playoffs are — goaltending is a big part of it,” Hitchcock explained. “I thought the best player of the series was their goalie. In the end he made the big saves.”

Who’s stronger down the middle?

These are two of the NHL’s deepest clubs at center.

San Jose’s trio of Joe Thornton, Logan Couture and Joe Pavelski ran roughshod over Vancouver (22 points combined) in the opening round, while Kings head coach Darryl Sutter routinely praises his centers — Anze Kopitar, Mike Richards, Jarret Stoll, Colin Fraser — as the strongest part of the team.

(He also called Kopitar “the best all-around centerman that I’ve coached, period.”)

If there’s a slight edge, it might be in the faceoff circle.

The Sharks were dominant in Round 1 — Couture won a staggering 68.2 percent of his draws against the Canucks — while the Kings initially struggled against St. Louis (36 percent in Game 1) before evening things out by the end.

How physical will it get?

LA was in a virtual street fight with the Blues — Dustin Penner called it “the most physical series I’ve ever been a part of” — and what St. Louis showed (in Games 1 and 2 especially) was the importance of initiating contact with the Kings, a team that likes to crash and bang.

It’ll be interesting to see if San Jose can do something similar.

The Sharks got bigger and nastier up front by moving Brent Burns to wing and acquiring Raffi Torres, and get plenty of energy from the likes of James Sheppard, Andrew Desjardins and Tommy Wingels (who leads the team in hits, with 20).

For all the second-round playoff previews, click here.

Latest Posts
  1. Video: Brassard breaks Rangers’ lengthy drought

    May 6, 2015, 9:02 PM EDT

    Derick Brassard AP

    They hadn’t scored in 100 minutes.

  2. Video: Stamkos’ sweet pass sets up Killorn goal

    May 6, 2015, 7:42 PM EDT

    Steven Stamkos, Alex Killorn AP

    Tampa Bay grabs a 1-0 lead in Game 3.

  3. Drouin in: Lightning give promising rookie a shot in Game 3

    May 6, 2015, 6:58 PM EDT

    Tampa Bay Lightning v Florida Panthers Getty Images

    Things haven’t come easily for the high-end prospect.

  4. 2015 Jack Adams Award finalists: Hartley, Laviolette, Vigneault

    May 6, 2015, 6:45 PM EDT

    2014 NHL Awards - Inside Getty Images

    Chosen by the National Hockey League Broadcasters’ Association.

  5. Preds re-sign goalie Mazanec: one year, $575K

    May 6, 2015, 5:30 PM EDT

    mazanecgetty Getty Images

    Czech netminder has appeared in 27 games for Nashville over the last two seasons.

  6. Columbus’ Bjorkstrand named WHL Player of the Year

    May 6, 2015, 3:56 PM EDT

    Buffalo Sabres v Columbus Blue Jackets Getty Images

    Scored 63 goals and 118 points this year for Portland.

  7. NHL hockey ops explains no-goal call

    May 6, 2015, 3:00 PM EDT

    “It’s like a horse race — you can’t stand ten feet ahead of the finish line and determine who won a close race.”

  8. Yeo: ‘I hate the word — I’ve never been swept’

    May 6, 2015, 2:26 PM EDT

    St. Louis Blues v Minnesota Wild - Game Three Getty Images

    Yet the Wild coach is now staring it in the face.

  9. Lightning, Habs will play first back-to-back of the playoffs

    May 6, 2015, 1:41 PM EDT

    Tampa Bay Lightning v Montreal Canadiens - Game Two Getty Images

    Teams will meet tonight and again tomorrow in Tampa Bay.

  10. Detroit prospect Larkin ‘not 100 percent’ returning to school

    May 6, 2015, 12:54 PM EDT

    Norway v USA - 2015 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship Getty Images

    “I’m still in between and weighing the options.”

  11. Jack Adams Award finalists to be announced tonight

    May 6, 2015, 12:35 PM EDT

    Calgary Flames v Vancouver Canucks - Game Five Getty Images

    Calgary’s Bob Hartley is considered the favorite.

  12. Kovalchuk: ‘We’ll see’ about NHL return

    May 6, 2015, 11:59 AM EDT

    Russia Kovalchuk Hockey AP

    Recently won a KHL championship.

  13. Rangers assistant GM Gorton remains in high demand

    May 6, 2015, 11:25 AM EDT

    2014 NHL Stanley Cup Final - Practice Sessions Getty Images

    Reports now suggest Toronto’s interested.

  14. Report: Bettman ordered to testify in concussions lawsuit

    May 6, 2015, 11:13 AM EDT

    New York Rangers v Phoenix Coyotes Getty Images

    Deposition slated for no earlier than July.

  15. Report: Isles’ Persson signs in Swedish League

    May 6, 2015, 11:01 AM EDT

    New York Islanders v New Jersey Devils New York Islanders v New Jersey Devils

    Fifth-round pick in 2011 spent all of this year in AHL Bridgeport.

Featured video

Holtby becoming big-time goalie
Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. M. Zuccarello (3280)
  2. M. Giordano (2288)
  3. A. Ovechkin (1946)
  4. C. Perry (1771)
  5. J. Hudler (1640)
  1. K. Letang (1625)
  2. K. Versteeg (1607)
  3. C. Price (1537)
  4. B. Bishop (1518)
  5. M. Ferland (1453)