Kings-Sharks: Weathering the storm - LA Kings Insider

Inexorably linked to The home ice factor in the Kings-Sharks preview series, one of the challenges of facing San Jose is dealing with the team’s notoriously strong starts at home. San Jose led the NHL with 83 first period goals in 2013-14, and outscored their opponents 129-84 at the SAP Center; their +45 home goal differential was the fourth best in the league.

San Jose’s strong starts aren’t limited to home games. The Sharks have scored six goals in the first minutes of a game and 11 goals in the first two minutes of a game this season.

Asked what the Kings have to be cognizant of when facing one of the league’s quickest starting teams, Anze Kopitar referenced the team’s poise early in games.

“Just…be ready right off the start, and not get caught in the moment, if you want to call it that way,” he said. “The building’s going to be loud. Everybody’s going to be excited. It always is that way. Just be ready when the puck drops and play our game, be sharp as best as we can and just go from there.”

Though San Jose scored within the first seven minutes in each of their three home games in last year’s playoff series, during the 2013-14 regular season Los Angeles weathered the storm quite well. The Kings outscored the Sharks 2-0 in the three first periods played at the SAP Center this season.

Nothing to see here, according to Jonathan Quick. The Kings’ goaltender explained the strong road starts as statistics gravitating towards the mean.

“I don’t know, it’s probably just a numbers game,” Jonathan Quick said. “They’ve probably outscored us for so long (in San Jose) that it was about time we outscored them first. Every game you prepare pretty much the same way. Obviously, depending upon who you’re playing, there are certain things you’re paying attention to a little more than others. But I would say it’s probably more of a numbers game than anything. It’s just the numbers evening out a little bit.”

Los Angeles has also enjoyed strong starts, outscoring opponents 66-49 in first periods this season. The plus-17 goal differential was the best out of any period.

Previously in the Kings-Sharks playoff preview series:
The home ice factor
The center battles
Individual postseason stats

Los Angeles Kings v San Jose Sharks - Game Six

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Adrian Kempe

#9 | 6′ 2″ | 195 lb | Age: 21

Born: September 13, 1996
Birthplace: Kramfors, SWE
Position: LW
Handedness: Left


Kempe was selected by the Kings in the first round (29th overall) in the 2014 NHL Draft.

Alex Iafallo

#19 | 6′ | 185 lb | Age: 23

Born: December 21, 1993
Birthplace: Eden, NY, USA
Position: C
Handedness: Left


Iafallo was signed by the Kings as an unrestricted free agent on April 18, 2017.

Anze Kopitar

#11 | 6′ 3″ | 224 lb | Age: 29

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


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.

Drew Doughty

#8 | 6′ 1″ | 195 lb | Age: 26

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


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.

Jeff Carter

#77 | 6′ 4″ | 215 lb | Age: 31

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


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.

Jonathan Quick

#32 | 6′ 1″ | 218 lb | Age: 30

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


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.