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Kings 2, Sharks 0

The SportsXchange

LOS ANGELES -- Before Tuesday, the Los Angeles Kings hadn't enjoyed home-ice advantage in a playoff series in more than 20 years.

They picked a perfect time to rekindle those home-sweet-home vibes in the second round of the Western Conference playoffs.

The defending Stanley Cup champions welcomed the San Jose Sharks to Staples Center riding a 10-game home winning streak, then promptly, decisively, stretched it to 11 with a 2-0 victory.

Game 2 is Thursday, again at Staples Center before the series moves to the Bay Area for Games 3 and 4.

The Sharks have 48 hours to solve the Kings' home-ice advantage.

In the meantime, the Kings will continue doing what they do, and that means playing a tough, physical, grind-it-out game while leaning heavily on red-hot goalie Jonathan Quick.

In other words, the same blueprint that carried them to their first Stanley Cup title in club history last season, and one they are seemingly intent on following to another run at a championship this year.

On Tuesday, that meant flipping the script a bit relative to their current playoff M.O.

For the first time this postseason, they built a multi-goal lead after getting a first-period goal from Slava Voynov and a second-period goal from Mike Richards.

Then they handed matters over to Quick, who continued his brilliant play this postseason with an off-the-charts performance in which he turned away all 35 shots he faced.

In front of him, a staunch Kings defense killed off three more power plays to build its postseason resume to 18 penalty kills in 20 chances.

It was that kind of night for the defending champs, who seem to be finding their groove at the right time.

They lost the first two games of their first-round series against the St. Louis Blues before reeling off four straight wins.

Make that five after shutting out the Sharks.

NOTES: San Jose goalie Antti Niemi made 18 saves. ... The California dynamic to the Los Angeles Kings-San Jose Sharks series dynamic might not resonate on the prairies of rural Canada, but in California it can't be ignored. And the players are grasping it. "I think it's a great thing for California to get these two teams in this situation," said Kings captain Dustin Brown. "It's the perfect time for it because of how well hockey is doing. We know what's at stake after what we did last year, and they know it as well." Said Sharks captain Joe Thornton: "It's pretty cool. Hockey is big out here now. You have a lot of youngsters playing, a lot of older people, too. Hockey is thriving out here in the West." ... The Kings' success at Staples Center makes their home-ice advantage in the series so important. "We're getting into that groove," Los Angeles C Anze Kopitar said. "We had a slow start, but the last few games are a good indication of what we can do. We're familiar with them from so many years. We know what they bring and what they can do, and they know what we want to do, so I think it should be a fun series to see who can do it better."

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