Key play: Logan Couture’s power-play goal proved to be the difference for the San Jose Sharks in a 2-1 victory Saturday over the Kings in Game 2 of their first-round playoff series at Staples Center. Couture’s second-period putback of Joe Pavelski’s initial try propelled the Sharks to a 2-0 series lead.
Pivotal performer: Pavelski gave the Sharks a 1-0 lead only 3:37 in the game, his third goal in two contests in the best-of-7 series. He also assisted on Couture’s game-winning goal to give him a series-leading four points. He had three shots on goal and won seven of eight faceoffs.
Quote, unquote: “We’ve got to do a better job of getting traffic and getting guys to the net, fighting through box-outs and getting those second- and third-chance opportunities,” Kings left wing Lucic said. “Right now, we’re not doing a good enough job of it. We need to figure it out quick if we want to turn things around. We’ve got to stop playing with frustration and start playing with determination.”
Welcome back: Right wing Marian Gaborik returned to the Kings’ lineup for the first time since spraining his right knee Feb. 12. He was scoreless on four shots on goal in 14:32, playing with a variety of linemates as Kings coach Darryl Sutter mixed and matched his combinations.
Injury update: Kings defenseman Alec Martinez did not play after he was forced from Game 1 after two periods because of an undisclosed injury. Martinez sat out the final four regular-season games because an unspecified injury. His status for Game 3 is unknown. Jamie McBain took Martinez’s spot in the lineup.
Right wing Marian Gaborik was back in the Kings’ lineup Saturday for Game 2 of their first-round playoff series against the San Jose Sharks at Staples Center. Defenseman Alec Martinez was out of the lineup after an abbreviated return to it Thursday for Game 1.
Or so it seemed.
Gaborik skated on a line with center Anze Kopitar and left wing Milan Lucic during the Kings’ morning stake at Staples Center. Kings coach Darryl Sutter later said Gaborik’s first game since spraining his right knee Feb. 12 against the New York Rangers would be a coach’s decision at game time.
“He’ll go through warmup and he’ll declare himself,” Sutter said of Gaborik, who had 12 goals and 22 points in 54 games when he was injured in the game at Madison Square Garden. “He’s been medically cleared, so it becomes a coach’s decision.”
Gaborik was not immediately available for comment.
Martinez, who has an unspecified injury, didn’t skate with his teammates and there was no locker stall set up for him inside the Kings’ dressing room. It appeared Jamie McBain would take his place and make his playoff debut after playing 345 regular-season games in the NHL.
“It’s still the same game,” McBain said, who yielded to Martinez for Game 1 after filling in for him for the final four games of the regular season. “There might be a little bit more physicality, but at the end of the day, it’s still the same game.”
A full story will be up on the Daily News website soon, but here’s what Kings defenseman Drew Doughty said Friday about playing more minutes and shouldering a heavier burden if Alec Martinez can’t play in Game 2 against the Sharks:
“I’m ready for whatever if he can’t play. If I need to play 30 minutes, that’s great. If not, I’ll play 25 minutes. Either way, I have to play the same way. I have to be more emotionally involved in the game. I can play better than I did and I can lead us better than I did. The next game, I’ve got to step up and do that.”
The Kings recalled defenseman Kevin Gravel from the Ontario Reign of the American Hockey League. Gravel’s addition likely means Alec Martinez won’t play in Game 2 of the Kings’ first-round playoff series against the San Jose Sharks. Martinez played 11:43 in the first two periods of Game 1 on Thursday, a 4-3 victory by the Sharks. He didn’t play in the third period, however.
Key play: Joe Pavelski outhustled and outmuscled Anze Kopitar as he swept around the Kings’ net to score the tiebreaking goal 17 seconds into the third period and the San Jose Sharks took a 4-3 victory in Game 1 of their first-round playoff series Thursday at Staples Center.
Pivotal performer: Pavelski scored two goals and was impossible for the Kings to contain in both teams return to the postseason after a one-season absence. He had three shots on net and was credited with three that missed the mark in 19:16 of ice time.
Quote, unquote: “You can’t give them too much momentum,” Kopitar said of the Sharks. “We have to do a better job of staying out of the box and that our mistakes don’t result in goals. (The Kings must) limit their time and space (and) make sure we check them correctly. At the same time, make them defend too. We didn’t do a good enough job. We have to correct that.”
Injury update: Kings defenseman Alec Martinez returned to the lineup after suffering an undisclosed injury that sidelined him for the final four regular-season games. Martinez was scoreless in 11:43 in Game 1, and did not play in the third period.
Between the pipes: Jonathan Quick started for the Kings, as expected, and made 19 saves in his 77th career playoff start. Martin Jones, Quick’s backup before the Kings traded him last spring, had 21 saves in his first start in the playoffs.
Key play: Mark Scheifele scored the only goal in a shootout and the Winnipeg Jets rallied for a 4-3 victory Saturday over the Kings at Staples Center. Scheifele fired a shot past Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick in the second round.
Pivotal performer: Left wing Milan Lucic set up Kings teammate Tanner Pearson’s first-period goal with an alert cross-ice pass from along the left wing boards. Lucic’s assist was his 35th of the season, tying his career high. He had 35 while with the Boston Bruins in 2013-14 and 2011-12.
Quote, unquote: “We’re going to have to change our attitude before the playoffs start or else we’re not going to last long,” defenseman Jake Muzzin said after the Kings squandered a three-goal lead. “Everyone’s got to buy in. Everyone’s got to dig down and do their job.”
Between the pipes: Quick made his 68th appearance of the season and looked to extend his franchise record for victories to 41. He made 28 saves in regulation plus overtime. Ondrej Pavelec played for the 33rd time for the Jets, who failed to qualify for the playoffs. He made 26 saves plus three more in the shootout.
Injury updates: Kings defenseman Alec Martinez sat out for the fourth game because of an injury the team has declined to disclose. Winger Marian Gaborik (knee) and defenseman Matt Greene (shoulder) skated with their teammates for at least part of their morning skate.
Key play: Defenseman Alec Martinez’s goal early in the second period proved to be the game-winning score as the Kings held on for a 2-1 playoff-clinching victory Saturday over the Boston Bruins at Staples Center. The Kings returned to the postseason after a one-season absence.
Pivotal performance: Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick made several spectacular saves among the 27 shots he stopped to bail out his teammates. His best might have been a right toe save on the Bruins’ Brad Marchand in the first period to keep the game scoreless.
Between the pipes: Quick appeared in his 58th game of the season, with his career high of 72 still within reach. Tuukka Rask returned to the Bruins’ net after Jonas Gustavsson suffered the loss in a 4-0 defeat to the Ducks on Friday. Rask made 18 saves.
Quote, unquote: “A lot of credit goes to our first period, our goaltending and our penalty-killing,” Kings left wing Milan Lucic said. “That’s the goal of the season, to clinch a playoff spot as early as you can. Last year, falling just short, definitely gives you motivation. There are still 11 games and we want to finish as high up as we can in the standings.”
Dropping the gloves: The Kings’ Dwight King and the Bruins’ Adam McQuaid fought a lengthy battle in the first period, with King sending McQuaid’s helmet flying with a haymaker. McQuaid landed several punishing body shots with his right hand. In the end, it was a draw.
Check out the latest report from Los Angeles News Group colleague Abbey Mastracco, who breaks down the Kings’ breakdowns in a 4-3 loss Wednesday to the Colorado Avalanche and looks ahead to play after this weekend’s All-Star break.
The Kings rallied from a two-goal deficit after the second period to defeat the Chicago Blackhawks in overtime 3-2 on Saturday at Staples Center, ending the defending Stanley Cup champions’ run of 42 consecutive wins when leading after 40 minutes. The Blackhawks’ last loss when leading after two periods? Game 7 of the Western Conference final in 2014, when the Kings rallied in the third to force overtime and then won on Alec Martinez’s overtime goal.