SAN JOSE, CA - APRIL 14: Antti Niemi #31 of the San Jose Sharks gets help from teammate Douglas Murray #3 defending his goal against Ryan Smyth #94 of the Los Angeles Kings in Game One of the Western Conference Quarterfinals during the 2011 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at the HP Pavilion on April 14, 2011 in San Jose, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Pregame bullets after the jump.
- Check out Copper & Blue for the scoring chance data last time out. Summary of the game: terrible 1st, great 2nd, hanging in there but not generating enough from the 3rd to the end of OT. They proved to SJ that they shouldn't be taken lightly, but the loss of another center will require everyone to counter with even more disciplined play.
- Faceoff win percentages for the remaining centers: Handzus 53.8%, Richardson 42.9%, Lewis 30.8%. Stoll won 65%, because he is the spawn of Mephistopheles. We used to have one #1 center and two #3s. Now we have a single #3 as our #1. Buckle up.
- The Kings were outshot 35-45 and out-hit 36-43. On the other hand, they did zero monkeydances on the bench like Ryane Clowe. You think a guy like that would agree to fight a King, eh?
- Stoll's suspension presents the opportunity of a lifetime for Trevor Lewis. The last time he was given a top-six role, he produced. We desperately need this to happen again. After a rollercoaster Friday, Oscar Moller finds himself back at center in his first playoff game.
- Alexei Ponikarovsky showed what he could do in a top six role too, I thought -- but Murray is going back to Penner. Is that relationship now even more fraught than Frolov/Murray?
- It seems unfair to say that our goaltending needs to be perfect, considering how many great saves Quick made -- but with less firepower up front, that's what the Kings need. Grand larceny. But I believe JQ's capable of it.
They showed a lot of fight when they regrouped in game 1. They're going to need to show a lot more of it. I am building a Justin Williams shrine for inspiration.
Stealing a game would be a tremendous achievement. Let's see what they can do.