Jan 27, 2014; San Jose, CA, USA; Los Angeles Kings goalie Jonathan Quick (32) blocks a shot attempt by San Jose Sharks center Joe Pavelski (8) during the third period at SAP Center at San Jose. The Los Angeles Kings defeated the San Jose Sharks 1-0. Mandatory Credit: Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

Quest For Cup Begins: San Jose Sharks-Los Angeles Kings Game 1 Preview


Sixteen wins separate the San Jose Sharks from winning their first Stanley Cup in franchise history. Unfortunately, they’ve been in the same position every year for the past decade, and have not yet reached the Finals.

But with every year comes renewed hope. Hope that the Sharks can break through and put together sixteen solid games. Hope that the hockey Gods answer our prayers. Hope that the Sharks can win it all.

This year’s journey will begin with a first round matchup against the Los Angeles Kings in what should be a hard-fought, physical and grinding series. The Kings won the season series 3-1-1, but the playoffs are an entirely different animal.

Probable Lines

Sharks’ coach Todd McLellan has been mixing-and-matching with the lines during practice, perhaps to confuse the Kings.

According to ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun, here were the Sharks’ forward lines during Wednesday’s practice:

Pavelski-Thornton-Burns

Marleau-Couture-Nieto/Havlat

Hertl-Sheppard-Wingels

5 players (including Torres, and presumably Kennedy, Desjardins, Brown, and Kearns)

The defense should stay the same as it was during the final stretch of the regular season:

Braun-Demers

Irwin-Boyle

Stuart-Hannan

McLellan has yet to name a starting goaltender, but it is presumed to be Antti Niemi, who has playoff experience and already has a Stanley Cup.

Here are the probable lines for the Kings, based on their practice sessions as well:

Forwards

Gaborik-Kopitar-Williams

King-Richards-Carter

Toffoli-Stoll-Brown

Pearson-Clifford-Lewis/Nolan

Defensemen

Muzzin-Doughty

Regehr-Voynov

Mitchell-Martinez/Greene

Goalies

Quick

Jones

Injury Report

SJ: Raffi Torres (soreness) will likely play, as will Bracken Kearns (undisclosed)

LA: Drew Doughty (upper body) will play

Game Info

Opening Face-Off: 7:30 PM PST

Location: SAP Center, San Jose, CA

TV: NBCSN, CBC, FSW, CSNCA

Tags: San Jose Sharks