16: Preview, Sharks @ Kings, Western Conference First Round, Game 1

Line combinations, statistics, and notes as we count down to puck drop.

2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs, First Round

Game 1: San Jose Sharks @ Los Angeles Kings

Time: 7:30 PM Pacific
Location: Staples Center
TV" CNBC, Fox Sports West, CSN-CA
Live Stream, Radio, International & More: here


San Jose Sharks

Hertl - Thornton - Pavelski
Donskoi - Couture - Ward
Nieto - Marleau - Karlsson
Spaling - Tierney - Wingels

Vlasic - Braun
Martin - Burns
Dillon - Polak


Los Angeles Kings

Lucic - Kopitar - Pearson
Brown - Carter - Toffoli
King - Lecavalier - Versteeg
Clifford - Andreoff - Lewis

McNabb - Doughty
Muzzin - Schenn
Martinez - Scuderi


Scratched: Shore Injured: Gaborik, Nolan, Greene

Game Notes:

  • Nervous? Excited? Trouble breathing? Yeah, me too.
  • We're back to counting down, rather than up, in our preview titles. which means the playoffs have officially returned! The first four previews in 2014 all started with 16, but the last preview started with 1. That was good.
  • Fun exercise: read the preview from Game 1 against the Sharks two years ago. Tanner Pearson scratched! Raffi Torres somehow not suspended already! Tyler Toffoli trying to score on a line with Jarret Stoll and Dustin Brown! Brad Stuart and Scott Hannan somehow considered playoff-caliber defensemen!
  • Fast forward two years, and you're very familiar with how both teams have changed, but we've previewed some key aspects of the series here. Plenty of time to review the season series, listen to our preview podcast, and see how the teams match up.
  • Lineup notes: Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Alec Martinez both shore up the bluelines by returning from injuries today. Tomas Hertl and Tanner Pearson each get a chance to contribute from the top line, where they benefit from generational centermen and dangerous wingers. Two terrific second-line centers and two aging-but-motivated third-line centers back them up. Norris contenders anchor both defensive units, and 2014 Stanley Cup champs monitor both goals. I recall Darryl Sutter discussing before the 2014 Western Conference Final how evenly the teams matched up from top to bottom; it applies here, too.
  • LA's advantage: having a second-line winger as deadly as Tyler Toffoli. San Jose's advantage: having a second-pairing defenseman as deadly as Brent Burns.
  • It's going to be fun. Join us in the game thread later if you're not in the building, or even if you are.
  • PREDICTION: Kings in 7. No idea who wins this game, though!