Los Angeles, CA – Jonathan Quick posted 35 saves to notch his second shutout of the postseason and backstop the defending champion Los Angeles Kings' 2-0 whitewashing of the San Jose Sharks in Game 1 of this Western Conference semifinal series at Staples Center.
Quick recorded his fifth career playoff shutout in Game 3 of the Kings' first- round victory over the St. Louis Blues and fought off 16 shots in the final frame Tuesday to help the Kings draw first blood against the Sharks.
Slava Voynov and Mike Richards registered a goal and an assist apiece for the Kings, who have won 11 straight games at Staples Center and have home-ice advantage in a playoff series for the first time since 1992.
"It felt weird to be honest with you, but it is what it is," Kings forward Anze Kopitar said of starting a series at home. "It's nice to have home ice and it's nice to stay home an extra day, but we realize that we're going to have to do it on the road at some point too."
Antti Niemi allowed both goals on 20 shots for the sixth-seeded Sharks, who turned in a four-game sweep of the Northwest Division-champion Vancouver Canucks in the opening round.
"We have to find ways to score," San Jose coach Todd McLellan said. "We have to make it a lot harder on them. And did we generate some chances? Yes, but we didn't win the game."
Game 2 of this series is scheduled for Thursday in Los Angeles.
An evenly-played first period found the teams locked in a scoreless tie late in the stanza, but the Kings broke through in the finale minute of the frame to jump in front.
San Jose won a faceoff cleanly in the LA zone, but Richards came up with the puck and charged down the right wing before stopping just inside the San Jose zone.
Richards then touched the puck to a trailing Voynov, who rifled a heavy slapper from the right circle that sailed past Niemi to make it 1-0 with 12.9 ticks left in the period.
After killing off a hooking minor against Kopitar near the midpoint of the second, LA doubled its edge at the 12:30 mark when Voynov flipped a shot on net from the right point that deflected off the leg of Richards and skipped past the right pad of Niemi for a 2-0 lead.
That was all the offense LA would need, as Quick kept the Sharks off the board with 27 saves over the final 40 minutes to complete the shutout.
This marks just the second postseason meeting between these two Pacific Division rivals. The Sharks got the best of the Kings in six games during the 2011 conference quarterfinals ... The last time LA hosted a playoff series was in the 1992 division semifinals against the Edmonton Oilers. The Kings lost that series in six games ... When winning Game 1, the Kings have won 10 of 16 series ... Quick's six career playoff shutouts are a franchise record ... Quick has 25 career playoff wins to move within one of Kelly Hrudey for the club record.