One of the challenges of facing San Jose in a playoff series is their perpetual success at the faceoff dot. Since the 2008-09 season, the Sharks have finished either first or second in the league in faceoff percentage.

“When it just comes down to it, it’s a competitive part of the game,” Joe Thornton told LA Kings Insider on March 14. “We just have some centers that compete and wingers that like to help out win draws.”

San Jose ranked second in 2012-13 by winning 53.4% of their faceoffs; Los Angeles finished fourth with a 52.0% success rate. In the first round, the Sharks won 56.1% of their draws, while the Kings gradually improved from a series-low 36% performance in Game 1 to a series-high 53% performance in Game 6.

Logan Couture won 68.2% of the faceoffs he took in the Western Conference Quarterfinals. Thornton (58.5%) and Scott Gomez (55.9%) were San Jose’s best faceoff men in the regular season, while Jarret Stoll (56.0%), Anze Kopitar (53.3%) and Jeff Carter (52.6%) were Los Angeles’ regulars who finished above 50%.

“I think all their guys can take draws and are comfortable taking draws and have taken a lot over the course of their career,” Stoll said. “Pavelski, Couture, Thornton, even Gomez – they’re all good. They’re all strong on their sticks. They all care. They want to win the draw. It’s sometimes half the battle there, depending on who you’re going against. It’s obviously an important piece of the game right now in the playoffs. Special teams, faceoffs, D-zone draws, all those things. They’re strong. They’re a good team. We are, too.”

Much like the regular season, the Kings showed improvement at the faceoff dot throughout the St. Louis series and closed the series out by winning between 50.9% of the faceoffs in Game 3 through Game 6.

“I think our team has been improving in the faceeoff circle game-by-game now, so now we’ve got to bring our best, because obviously you want to have possession as much as you can,” Kopitar said.

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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

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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

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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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#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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