Sharks vs. Kings
Sharks Leading Regular Season Scorer: Joe Pavelski, 79 points (41 goals, 38 assists).
Kings Leading Regular Season Scorer: Anze Kopitar, 70 points (29 goals, 41 assists).
Sharks Expected Starting Goaltender: Antti Niemi, 39-17-7, 2.39 GAA, .913 SV%.
Kings Expected Starting Goaltender: Jonathan Quick (below), 27-17-4, 2.07 GAA, .915 SV%.
Sharks Injuries: Right winger Adam Burish (finger) is out. Left winger Raffi Torres (undisclosed) is on injured reserve.
Kings Injuries: Defenseman Drew Doughty (shoulder) is questionable.
Sharks with Stanley Cup bling: Adam Burish, RW; Tyler Kennedy, RW; Antti Niemi, G; Brad Stuart, D.
Kings with Stanley Cup bling: Dustin Brown, RW; Jeff Carter, C; Kyle Clifford, LW; Drew Doughty, D; Matt Greene, D; Dwight King, LW; Anze Kopitar, C; Trevor Lewis, C; Alec Martinez, D; Willie Mitchell; D; Jordan Nolan, C; Jonathan Quick; G; Mike Richards, C; Jarret Stoll, C; Slava Voynov, D; Justin Williams; RW.
Something worthwhile about the Sharks: The Sharks averaged the most shots on net in the NHL this past regular season at 34.8 per game.
Something worthwhile about the Kings: The Kings had a goals against average of 2.05 this past regular season, best in the NHL.
Something useless about the Sharks that is vaguely connected to the Penguins: The first coach to guide the Sharks to a postseason appearance was former Penguins coach Kevin Constantine in 1993-94.
Something useless about the Kings that is vaguely connected to the Penguins: Former Penguins defenseman Marty McSorley is the Kings' all-time leader in postseason penalty minutes with 190.
Former Penguins on the Sharks: Jim Johnson, assistant coach; Tyler Kennedy, RW.
Former Penguins on the Kings: Glen Murray, development consultant; Jake Muzzin, D (Muzzin is a former Penguins draft pick who never played for the organization); Luc Robitaille, president business operations.
Who needs to be the difference for the Sharks: Joe Thornton, Logan Couture, Joe Pavelski, Patrick Marleau, etc. The Sharks are a big puck possession team and they love to shoot the puck. Their star players will need to find a way to overcome the Kings' suffocating defense.
Who needs to be the difference for the Kings: Jonathan Quick. The Kings' success in recent seasons has been primarily due to their defense and Quick. Quick steals has a habit of shutting down opponents in the postseason. If the Kings hope to move past the Sharks, he'll have to do the same.
Best Sharks YouTube Video We Could Find: Sharks center Jamie Baker's eventual game-winning goal against the Red Wings in Game 7 of a 1994 Western Conference quarterfinal series:
Best Kings YouTube Video We Could Find: Kings center Mike Krushelnyski scoring a series-clinching overtime goal in a 4-3 win against the Flames in Game 7 of a 1990 Smythe Division semifinal series:
EN Prediction: This will be the best series in the first round of the playoffs. It will come down to goaltending. With the Sharks on the fence between Niemi and Alex Stalock, we'll take the safe pick and go with Quick. Kings 4-3.
(Photos: Marianne Helm/Getty Images and Christian Petersen/Getty Images)