Everyone in the San Jose Sharks organization, especially the players and fans, has a bitter taste in their mouth carried over from last time the Sharks met their longtime Pacific Division rivals, the Los Angeles Kings.
The entire series last season was a homer series with the Sharks losing in a seven-game heartbreaker at Staples Center in the second round.
However, no one in the Sharks’ locker room is more bitter than 20-year-old rookie Tomas Hertl who’s Calder Trophy hopes ended and regular season nearly ended after a knee-on-knee collision with Kings’ captain Dustin Brown on Dec. 19th.
“It’s personal. It’s L.A.” Hertl told CSNBayArea’s Kevin Kurd.
On whether or not he was ready to taste playoff hockey after dressing up for the Sharks’ last two regular season games, he said:
Oh yeah. For me, it’s more motivation because [it’s] L.A. … I want to beat L.A.
It’s going to be a tough series for sure. For the Sharks, they know they’re going up against a now-or-never situation to win their first-ever Stanley Cup.
They’re going to have to take each game one step at a time and fight for every inch of ice out there. With that, there’s absolutely no question it’s going to get nasty out there. Players are going to be chirping at one another. They’re going to be trying to get under each other’s skin, but it’s going to be a fun series to watch.
Could the Sharks be successful against the Kings? Will they? One thing we do know is that San Jose will try everything it can to beat L.A. starting Thursday night at the SAP Center.