Home ice advantage is something new for the Kings, but they are still going to have to bring their A game to STAPLES Center and later the Shark Tank. Here are three keys to the series for the Kings:
The Kings are one of the biggest teams in the league. Even the Kings skilled players are big bodies to pressure the opposition. The Kings are going to need to play physical and get the Sharks off their rhythm. The Kings best rhythm is when they have the other team off theirs. Maybe without one of their big bodies, Kyle Clifford who is questionable, the Kings big bodies need to put the hurt on the whole series even more. Dustin Penner continued to make his money in the playoffs during the first round, and needs to continue that along with Dwight King and Jordan Nolan.
Control the Puck
If the Kings want to play their game, they must be more effective in the Faceoff circle. The Sharks have two of the best centermen in the circle in Logan Couture and Joe Pavelski who won faceoffs at a ridiculous 68% and 58% respectively. Mike Richards was the only Kings center who was over 50% in their opening round series.
Antti Niemi was on his game in the Sharks opening round sweep of the Vancouver Canucks. He boasted a .937 save percentage, just a few notches worse than Jonathan Quick. The Kings net presence played like it was 2012 and carried the Kings through the first round. But the Kings have been known to go through goal droughts. If Niemi has confidence the Kings are in danger of being frustrated and going cold. But if the Kings get to him early in the series, they can rattle him, and take him off his Stanley Cup winning form when he was with the Blackhawks.