Terry Murray shared his thoughts this afternoon about the Kings’ first-round playoff series against San Jose. The NHL will announce tonight, at approximately 7 p.m. Pacific time, the dates and times for the first-round playoff games. Here’s a hint, though, for the Kings’ series. San Jose’s HP Pavilion is booked for an event on Friday, so unless the NHL wants the Kings and Sharks to play on back-to-back nights, it looks as though we’re heading for a Thursday start. That’s not official, but it’s what you would call circumstantial evidence in court. Here are Murray’s thoughts on the first-round series…

MURRAY: “Well, we knew it was going to be back to Vancouver, or San Jose. I think that both teams are premier teams in the game. It’s going to be a great series, with the San Jose Sharks having one of the top lines in the game, with (Joe) Thornton. My initial thought on it is that we’ve had some good games this year. We split the series, the six games. We’ve both won in each other’s building. There’s been a pretty balanced look, when you take a look at the goals for by both teams and the way the games unfolded. There were a couple of games that were pushed to the extreme, with kind of a blowout on both sides. It’s going to be interesting. It’s going to be a very competitive first round here, and it’s going to be fun for the fans, there’s no question about that. Northern California and Southern California.”

Question: Does it mean anything different to be playing a Pacific Division team, a team that you see more often?

MURRAY: “I think, when you play a team in your division, there’s always a little bit more in there, because you are very familiar with them. It’s a very competitive game, every time in the regular season, because of the geographical rivalry. And it’s a division game, and whenever you get into the playoffs there’s always a little more intensity and it gets heated up because of the games during the regular season.”

Question: Being a former Seals player, do you have any thoughts on the third all-California playoff series?

MURRAY: “It’s going to be a great series, but certainly the game of hockey in California will benefit from it. There’s no question. Any time you have NHL teams playing like that, there’s always going to be a generation watching closely, young players who are going to follow through with their dream of wanting to become one of those guys on the ice some day. It will have an effect on the game in this state, for sure, and only a very positive one.”

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Alec martinez

#27 | 6′ 1″ | 210 lb | Age: 29

Born: July 26, 1987
Birthplace: Rochester Hills, MI, USA
Position: D
Handedness: Left

Bio

Bio: Martinez was drafted by the LA Kings in the 2007 Draft, while playing for Miami University. He has since become a two-time Stanley Cup champion and the 17th man in Stanley Cup playoff history to score the Cup-winning goal in overtime.

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Anze Kopitar

#11 | 6′ 3″ | 224 lb | Age: 29

Born: August 24, 1987
Birthplace: Jesenice, SVN
Position: C
Handedness: Left

Bio

As the 11th overall pick in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft, Kopitar became the first Slovenian to play in the NHL. Kopitar has spent his entire NHL career with the Kings, and following the 2015–16 season, was named the Kings’ captain. Noted for both his offensive and defensive play, Kopitar was awarded the Frank J. Selke Trophy as the best defensive forward in the NHL in 2016.

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Drew Doughty

#8 | 6′ 1″ | 195 lb | Age: 26

Born: December 8, 1989
Birthplace: London, ON, CAN
Position: D
Handedness: Right

Bio

Bio: Doughty is a Canadian defenceman who was selected second overall by the Kings in the 2008 Draft. Doughty made his NHL debut in 2008 as an 18-year-old and was named to the All-Rookie Team. He is a two-time Stanley Cup champion with the Kings, a two-time Olympic gold medallist with the Canadian national team, and a Norris Trophy finalist.

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Tyler Toffoli

#73 | 6′ 1″ | 200 lb | Age: 24

Born: April 24, 1992
Birthplace: Scarborough, ON, CAN
Position: C
Handedness: Right

Bio

Toffoli is a Canadian professional ice hockey forward, drafted by the Kings in the second round of the 2010 Draft. Toffoli scored his first career NHL goal in his second game in a 4–0 victory over the Phoenix Coyotes in 2013. He was also named the 2012–13 AHL All-Rookie Team.
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Jeff Carter

#77 | 6′ 4″ | 215 lb | Age: 31

Born: January 1, 1985
Birthplace: London, ON, CAN
Position: C
Handedness: Right

Bio

Carter began his hockey career playing in the Ontario Hockey League in Canada before joining the AHL and playing for the Philadelphia Flyers. He was then traded to the Colombus Blue jackets before joining the LA Kings in 2012, where he has since won two Stanley Cups with the Kings.

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Jonathan Quick

#32 | 6′ 1″ | 218 lb | Age: 30

Born: January 21, 1986
Birthplace: Milford, CT, USA
Position: G
Handedness: Left

Bio

Bio: Quick is the current goaltender for the LA Kings and was selected by Los Angeles at the 2005 NHL Entry Draft. Previously, Quick was a silver medalist with USA at the 2010 Winter Olympics. He’s won two Stanley Cup championships with the Kings, along with being the most recent goaltender to be awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as the Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs.

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