Sharks vs. Kings Game Five Preview: One Win Away
The Sharks are one win away from the second round, and have a chance to advance and begin re-writing their legacy if they knock off the Kings tonight.
After the Kings beat the Sharks in Monday's game 3 in overtime, defenseman Drew Doughty told reporters the following:
You know they're thinking a little bit about it right now, so we're right where we want to be.
Now, the Sharks seem to be the ones right where they want to be, nursing a 3-1 series lead as the series returns to Los Angeles for a pivotal game 5. This is a much different team than the one that lost four straight games to Los Angeles two years ago, but you know San Jose wants to close the series out as quickly as possible.
Win, and the Sharks do just that. Win, and the narrative that's clouded the team these past two seasons ends just as quickly as the Kings' season. Win, and the Sharks are no longer defined by what's happened, but what's yet to happen.
Lose, and the Sharks return to San Jose with a whole host of questions before Game 6. Lose, and the narrative lives to fight another day, just as the Kings do. Lose, and the past continues to define the Sharks.
Game 5 is a potential end point in this series, and a turning point in this rivalry. The Sharks have made it very clear this series that they have not given much thought to their history with the Kings. San Jose probably isn't thinking too much about their legacy either, but closing out this series can put them on the path to changing that.
Let's just hope that path begins tonight.
Tale Of The Tape
|3rd in Pacific||Rank||2nd in Pacific |
|53.4% ||Score-Adj. Fenwick||56.2% |
|76.9 ||Playoff PK%||72.7|
7:30PM PDT | Staples Center | Los Angeles, CA
TV: CSNCA, CNBC, CBC | Radio: SJSharks.com, 98.5 KFOX
Know Your Enemy: Jewels From The Crown
A power play explosion pushed San Jose past Los Angeles for a Game 3 win. Patrick Marleau's backhanded tally stood as the game-winner, as the Sharks left the SAP Center with a 3-2 win.
- Joe Thornton, Joe Pavelski, and Tomas Hertl have eaten Drew Doughty's lunch this series. Part of that has to do with Doughty playing with Rob Scuderi, but as Ryan Lambert points out in a Puck Daddy column this morning, the trio has had success no matter who Doughty's played with.
- Another reason Doughty's struggled? Depth defensemen playing above their roles, thanks to Alec Martinez' injury. Martinez did not skate once again at the Kings optional practice yesterday.
- Prior to the Sharks' power play's coming-out party, San Jose stood at just over 14% with the man advantage. After Wednesday, that rate doubled. The Kings know they have to stay out of the box, but Sutter thinks the officials missed some calls last game.
- The Kings' power play hasn't gotten the same attention as the Sharks, but has been good nonetheless, sitting right behind the Sharks as the sixth-best unit this postseason. The Sharks' penalty kill, conversely, is just 11th-best in the playoffs. San Jose held Los Angeles off the scoresheet with the man advantage last game, and will need a repeat performance tonight to ensure they keep winning the special teams matchup.
- When Martin Jones left Los Angeles, he was but the learner. Now, is he the master? Through five games, Jones has outperformed his former mentor Jonathan Quick at even strength. Quick's overall save percentage has torpedoed thanks to a low penalty kill save percentage, which isn't a true indicator of a goalie's skill level. It's nice to see the Sharks get the better of a goaltending matchup involving Jonathan Quick for once.