The San Jose Sharks begin their first round battle against the Los Angeles Kings Thursday evening at the SAP Center. The rivalry and history between the two teams will prove for some very entertaining hockey. Not to mention this is the third time these teams have met in the playoffs over the last four years.
Coach Todd McLellan expects the rivalry to live on throughout these next few games:
“It will be an intense series. It always has been. We’ve had a rivalry going now for four or five years where they have really played well and hard against us and vice versa. I don’t think that is going to change at all.”
This will be one series that keeps both fans, and players alike, on edge. The bad blood between the two teams recently stems off of both the knee-on-knee hit from Dustin Brown to Tomas Hertl, and a hit from Raffi Torres that injured Jarrett Stoll. However, the Sharks must keep their emotion in check; for the most part. Too many penalty minutes is the exact thing that could keep the Sharks from proceeding to round two.
Tommy Wingels emphasizes this:
“This isn’t the time of year to do something stupid. Yeah, we remember what happened, we’re not happy about it, but the goal right now is to win the Stanley Cup playoffs.”
Rather than respond physically, Brad Stuart wants to win the Stanley Cup to make all the wrongs right:
“Let’s win the series. Is there any better way to take care of it than that? Probably not.”
It has been said all year that the Sharks have the makings to finally win a Stanley Cup this year. After a rough year which included many injuries and some less than ideal goaltending, the Sharks have held their own and enter the playoffs with pride.
But if nothing else, San Jose is known to rally at the last minute and pull through in difficult situations. The teams’ last matchup could be a preview of what’s in store and hopefully the Sharks can replicate these efforts and continue to make the wins. This combined with home ice advantage, the Sharks have an excellent chance to finally make it to a Stanley Cup Final.
Game 1: April 17, @ San Jose; 10:30pm (NBCSN, CBC)
Game 2: April 20 @ San Jose, 10pm (NBCSN, CBC)
Game 3: April 22 @ Los Angeles, 10pm (NBCSN, CBC)
Game 4: April 24 @ Los Angeles, 10:30pm (NBCSN, CBC)
*Game 5: April 26 @ San Jose, time TBD (NBCSN, CBC)
*Game 6: April 28 @ Los Angeles, time TBD, (CBC)
*Game 7: April 30 @ San Jose, time TBD (CBC)