LOS ANGELES – The Kings’ six-game series win over St. Louis was probably the most physical of any in the NHL’s first round. There were just 22 combined goals (12 by Los Angeles), and every inch of the ice seemingly had to be earned.
According to Kings defenseman Drew Doughty, the Sharks present a different challenge in the second round when compared to St. Louis.
“I don’t think it will be as physical of a series,” Doughty said on Tuesday morning. “They have some guys that play physical, but they’re more of a skilled group. I think there will be a little bit more room to make plays, but at the same time that’s the thing they’re best at. We’ve got to take that away from them.”
That’s not to say the Sharks will be any easier to play against, though.
“They go to the net hard. I think that’s one of their best attributes. Every single guy on that team bulldozes their way to the net,” Doughty said. “It’s tough to defend.”
Staying out of the penalty box will be one of the keys for Los Angeles, after the Sharks were able to capitalize on several boneheaded infractions by the Canucks. San Jose scored seven power play goals in 24 chances in their sweep of the Canucks (29.2 percent).
The Kings’ aren’t likely to take nearly as many penalties as the Canucks did.
“You know that one power play goal can make or break a game for you, especially against this team,” Colin Fraser said. “Number one, you’ve got to stay disciplined. We’re a physical team and we play hard, that’s our identity. We’ve got to do it between the whistles and not take penalties, because they’ve got some firepower over there that can score on the power play.”
Doughty said: “Their power play is probably the best part about their team. When they get their opportunities, they’re either scoring goals or getting momentum for their team, because they’re getting chances. They have that top unit who plays most of the minutes on the power play, and they do a really good job at it.”
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The Kings will be without forward Kyle Clifford and defenseman Matt Greene for Game 1.
Their forward lines and defense pairs are likely to be as follows:
Justin Williams – Anze Kopitar – Dustin Brown
Dwight King – Mike Richards – Jeff Carter
Dustin Penner – Jarret Stoll – Trevor Lewis
Jordan Nolan – Colin Fraser – Tyler Toffoli
Robyn Regehr – Drew Doughty
Jake Muzzin – Slava Voynov
Rob Scuderi – Alec Martinez
Jonathan Quick, of course, will start in net.