Sharks vs. Kings NHL Playoff Preview: More Of The Same In Game Two?

It's pretty clear what the game plan was for the San Jose Sharks going into game one against the Los Angeles Kings: score early, maintain offensive output, limit mistakes that could lead to offensive capitalization from a mostly defensive team and most likely to isolate Justin Williams defensively. As to their execution of these points, the results are definitely varied, but they came out with a win and that's what matters at this point. They're up 1-0, and the gameplan should remain largely the same. The key to each game was to jump out to a 1-0 lead, and the key to the series is the same: a 1-0 lead. 

Tonight, they'll host them for game two at HP Pavilion. In game one, they scored only 28 seconds into the opening frame, if they can do that again, they'll be in good shape. The aggressiveness in the first period was very key, and it's the only reason they were able to fin. Against a team as strong defensively as Los Angeles, they absolutely had to keep the aggressiveness. The only problem with that is finding the balance and not getting over-aggressive, which is just what they did on the third penalty kill of the night, when Logan Couture went on a breakaway and missed wide of the net, setting up a Kings' 3-on-1 that led to a Dustin Brown score. If Couture doesn't make that ... quite frankly, rookie mistake, then the Sharks win that game a bit more comfortably than having to resort to overtime heroics from Joe Pavelski.

The other key is limiting mistakes that lead to Justin Williams' goal. When you're dealing with a defensive team like Los Angeles, you have to isolate the outliers - the guys who can really contribute on offense and be game changers - and Williams very much fits that mold. When Douglas Murray got mixed up behind the San Jose net and left the puck open for Williams, that was all it took. He grabbed the puck and tucked it neatly into the net and Antti Niemi was none the wiser.

Likely without defenseman Ian White after the hit from Jarret Stoll (who is suspended for game two), it will be even harder for the Sharks to find and sustain that balance throughout the entirety of a hockey game. They lost a lot of rhythm in the second period of play, but did pick it up in the third, only to get dominated for a large portion of overtime. At times they looked tired and run ragged, but they should be better prepared to go without White at this point.

There's not much else to say about this matchup - lineups should remain largely the same, minus Ian White and Jarrett Stoll. Dan Boyle will get even more minutes, which is alarming and hopefully White can return sooner rather than later. Boyle doesn't need to be out there for as long as he was in game one. The game begins at 7:00 p.m. and will be broadcast on CSN California.

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