San Jose, CA–Tonight the San Jose Sharks and their fans finally found out who their second round opponent will be in the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs and get this its a division rival. With the Detroit Red Wings upsetting the Anaheim Ducks in seven games, they will face the Chicago Blackhawks.
The Sharks is recently coming off of sweeping the Vancouver Canucks and making it their first playoff series sweep in franchise history, while the Los Angeles Kings defeated the St. Louis Blues in six grinding hard fought games. This will make the second time the Sharks and Kings face one another in the playoffs.
LA will continue their Stanley Cup Championship defense for at least another round. San Jose Sharks veteran blue liner know’s what it takes to get there and win it all.
“When you win it, every team is gunning for you,” Stuart said. “They struggled with that I think a little bit early in the year, and they’re probably over that now. Now, just the fact that they know what it takes, is probably an advantage.
“But, this is the playoffs. Whether you’ve won it before or not, every team is going to be prepared and gunning for you because they want to move on. That they have that experience is an advantage at this point in the year for them.”
Since sweeping the Canucks back on May 7th, the Sharks have not played a single. After their series against Vancouver, San Jose took both Wednesday and Thursday off. Following their two day break, the Sharks were back in full practice mode on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.
Sharks Head Coach Todd McLellan had this say about his team.
“In a really strange year, this is a long break,” Todd McLellan said, referring to the condensed NHL schedule following the lockout. “There is some energy in practice, and that energy bank that you have is full, so that’s a good sign. The bumps and bruises are healing.”
2012-2013 Season Series Statistics:
San Jose Sharks tied LA Kings 2-2. On March 14, the Sharks won 4-3 at HP Pavilion, but dropped a 5-2 decision in Los Angeles two nights later. The Sharks defended their home ice on April 16 with a 3-2 shootout win, but lost the final game of the regular season, 3-2 in SoCal on April 27.
Brent Burns led all Sharks scorers against Los Angeles with eight points (2g, 6a), while Couture had a team-leading three goals. The Kings’ Justin Williams had six points against the Sharks (2g, 4a), while Dustin Brown and Kyle Clifford had three goals each.
During their season series against the Kings, Antti Niemi, posted a 3.31 goals-against average and .904 save percentage against the Kings. While Jonathan Quick who is expected to start, was 1-0-1 against San Jose in three games, with a 2.74 GAA and .903 SP. Quick was pulled after two periods in a loss on March 14, while Niemi was replaced by Alex Stalock in the second period of the Sharks’ loss on March 16.
Last year, Kings net minder Jonathan Quick was named the Comm Symthe Recipient for most valuable player in the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs. In the series vs. St. Louis Quick allowed just 10 goals in six games, while posting a 1.58 goals-against average which puts a number three on the list in the postseason.
During the Vancouver series Sharks back-stopper Antti Niemi allowed six goals past him and posted a 1.86 goals-against average and .937 save percentage on top of that.
San Jose Sharks Stat Leaders:
Goals – Pavelski and Marleau (4)
Game Winners – Couture, Marleau, Boyle, Torres (1)
Assists – Couture and Thornton (5)
Points – Pavelski and Couture (8)
Power Play Goals – Couture and Pavelski (3)
Shots – Pavelski (21 shots)
PIM – Desjardins (6)
Plus/Minus – Thornton (+3)
TOI per game – Boyle (23.00)
Face-Off Wins - Couture (45-21) – 68.18%
Hits – Wingels (20)
Blocked Shots – Hannan (11)
Wins – Niemi (4)
G.A.A. - Niemi (1.86)
o Save % - Niemi (.937)
LA Kings Stat Leaders:
Goals – Jeff Carter (3)
Game Winners – Voynov (2), Penner, Williams (1)
Assists – Richards (5), Kopita (3)
Points – Richards (5), Kopitar (4)
Power Play Goals – Carter and Brown (1)
Shots – Williams (24 Shots)
PIM – Doughty (6)
Plus/Minus – Voynov (+5)
TOI per game – Doughty (28.5)
Face-Off Wins – Richards (39-36) – 52%
Hits – Brown (31)
Blocked Shots – Scuderi (10)
Wins – Quick (4)
G.A.A. – Quick (1.58)
o Save % – Quick (.944)
Prior Stanley Cup Playoffs Meeting:
The last time San Jose and LA played against one another in the postseason, was back in the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs where the Sharks defeated the Kings in six games. In that series, the Sharks erased a four goal deficit in game three and ended wining that one in overtime when former Shark Devin Setoguchi scored the winning goal. In game six, another magical moment happened when Sharks Captain Joe Thornton sealed the deal for San Jose and scored the series clinching goal in overtime to send his team into the second round.
Western Conference Semifinal Announcement:
The NHL has announced this morning at 12p ET that game one of the WCSF’s, Sharks vs. Kings is scheduled for Tuesday at 7p PT/10p ET.
Official Link to Press Release: http://www.nhl.com/ice/news.htm?id=670485&cmpid=nhl-twt
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