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Sharks vs. Kings Game 2 Preview


The defending champs are certainly on a roll as winners of their last five playoff games, but not everyone was smiling in the Los Angeles Kings locker room after their 2-0 game one victory on Tuesday.

Unfortunately, the home win was marred by a significant and unnecessary injury to L.A. center Jarret Stoll, who was hit hard by San Jose Sharks winger Raffi Torres. It’s unclear how long Stoll may be out, but after not returning on Tuesday, he’s considered unlikely to suit up for Thursday’s game two.

“I thought it was careless,” Kings coach Darryl Sutter said of Torres’ hit, which occurred near the sideboards after the puck rolled away from Stoll, according to ESPN.com.

Torres may miss significant time too. He’s currently scheduled to meet with the NHL’s Department of Player Safety on Thursday for a disciplinary hearing, which could decide on a lengthy suspension. However, Sutter doesn’t think both players being out makes things even.

“Our player is quite a bit more important than theirs,” Sutter said.

Sutter certainly has a point there. Stoll’s two-way game gives the Kings a lot of versatility on the third line and he helps the team as a leader and faceoff specialist as well.

“He’s a big loss, one of our most valuable guys,” Kings defenseman Drew Doughty said. “Everybody else will have to step up if we want to keep going forward.”

Meanwhile, the absence of Torres will not likely affect the Sharks’ chances in scoring against Jonathan Quick, who shut out San Jose in game one.

Quick, who won the Conn Smythe award last postseason, will probably be the biggest factor in the game once again today. Including the game one win, Quick is 2-1 against the Sharks this season and he has logged two shutouts already this postseason.

Still, after sweeping the Canucks in round one, it’s hard to imagine the Sharks’ offensive momentum has completely evaporated. The Sharks scored a combined 15 goals in their four wins, netting at least three goals in each contest. They still managed 35 shots on goal against Quick in game one and as long as they keep getting good looks, the puck is bound to find the back of the net at some point.

There’s no question the Sharks have been one of the streakiest teams in the league all season, but with Stoll out, they should find enough offense to at least cover the +1.5 spread. Take San Jose on the +1.5 line today, but look for Los Angeles to win a close one.

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