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Antti Niemi to start in goal, Raffi Torres returns from injury for Sharks in opener vs. Kings

Antti Niemi will start in goal for the San Jose Sharks in the opener of their first-round playoff series against Los Angeles.

Coach Todd McLellan said before Thursday night's game that he is sticking with Niemi over rookie Alex Stalock despite Niemi's late-season struggles. Niemi has started all 34 playoff games since joining the Sharks in the 2010-11 season.

Also, forward Raffi Torres is back after the missing the final 17 games of the regular season with an injury. Torres played just five games all year after tearing a knee ligament in the preseason.

Rookie Tomas Hertl will make his playoff debut. Hertl missed 45 games after an illegal knee-on-knee hit from Los Angeles captain Dustin Brown on Dec. 19 but returned for the final two games of the season.