They lost to them in the 2011 playoffs, but the Los Angeles Kings got their revenge on the San Jose Sharks two years later. Then, in 2014, the Kings pulled off one of the greatest comebacks in playoff history — in any sport – en route to winning their second Stanley Cup in three years. But after both teams missed the postseason altogether last year, there was a palpable hunger from both sides entering this season.
After their acquisition of former Kings netminder Martin Jones, the Sharks had raised the ire of Kings fans everywhere. Just a couple of days prior, however, the silver-and-black acquired bruising winger Milan Lucic to bolster their lineup. The big guy has done just that and, with additions like Vincent Lecavalier, Luke Schenn – in addition to the return of Rob Scuderi – the Kings look as formidable as ever, but so do the Sharks who, like the Kings, have bounced back in a big way from last season.
In addition to the aforementioned Martin Jones, the Sharks hired head coach Peter deBoer who brought the club back to the playoffs.
Of their 46 wins this season, three of San Jose’s victories came against the Kings as they won the season series 3-1-1. For Jones, he played in each of the matchups against his former club posting a 2.57 goals-against average and a .913 save percentage.
On the other end, Jonathan Quick’s performance against the Sharks was nothing to write home about as he went 0-3-0 with an unspectular 4.40 GAA and a .845 save percentage. However, this was the regular season. What Quick is notorious for, among other things, is his ability to step up his game in the playoffs. So, with that said, his regular-season numbers against San Jose, as far as most are concerned, are irrelevant. This is a new beast.
While it may have been disheartening to see the Pacific Division title slip away from the Kings this season, you can be certain that most have anticipated a matchup with the Sharks to add another chapter to this hostile state rivalry.
Whether it’s the regular season or the playoffs, the Kings and Sharks never disappoint on providing some of the most intense hockey. This series should prove to be no different. So, strap yourselves in, lean back and enjoy.