LOS ANGELES — Jonathan Quick made 35 saves in his sixth career playoff shutout, and the Los Angeles Kings opened their second-round series with a 2-0 victory over the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday night.
Slava Voynov and Mike Richards each had a goal and an assist in the defending Stanley Cup champions’ 11th straight victory at Staples Center since March.
With yet another dominant playoff performance by Quick, Los Angeles opened the NHL’s fourth all-California playoff series with its fifth straight victory after an 0-2 start to its title defence.
The Kings’ Conn Smythe Trophy winner allowed just 10 goals in the six-game first round against St. Louis before frustrating the Sharks, whose superior speed and passing produced nothing.
Antti Niemi stopped 18 shots for the Sharks, who swept Vancouver out of the first round. Game 2 is Thursday.
Opening a playoff series at home for the first time in 21 years, the Kings got just enough offence from Richards and Voynov, the Kings’ promising Siberian defenceman, who had the first multipoint playoff game of his short career.
Quick was on his formidable post-season game all night long, giving nightmares to the Sharks. San Jose scored 15 goals while sweeping third-seeded Vancouver, but Quick stopped every chance while the Sharks largely dominated play, particularly while outshooting Los Angeles 16-4 in the third period.
The Sharks and Kings are meeting in the post-season for the second time in three years, accentuating their already strong in-state rivalry. San Jose eliminated Los Angeles in 2011 on the way to the conference finals, but the Sharks’ years of steady excellence were surpassed by the up-and-down Kings when they raised California’s second Stanley Cup.
The Kings had not-so-secretly hoped for a second-round Freeway Faceoff with the Anaheim Ducks, who lost to Detroit in seven games — but the Sharks have the champs’ full attention.
Los Angeles beat San Jose 3-2 in both clubs’ regular-season finale to finish in fifth place in the Western Conference, two points ahead of the Sharks.
That’s how Los Angeles got home-ice advantage in this series, starting at home in the post-season for the first time since the 1992 opening round against Edmonton.
The Sharks began Game 1 at a furious pace, generating numerous early scoring chances and keeping the Kings on their heels. Quick immediately had to make a handful of remarkable saves before Los Angeles matched the tempo, and Voynov put the Kings ahead with 12.9 seconds left in the first period when he ripped a slap shot through traffic on a rush.
Voynov scored two goals in the opening round against St. Louis, and both were game-winners — including the clutch overtime score in Game 5.