LOS ANGELES (AP) — 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 defense.
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 offense from Richards and Voynov, the Kings’ promising Siberian defenseman, who had the first multipoint playoff game of his short career.
Quick was on his formidable postseason 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 postseason 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 postseason 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 that allowed Los Angeles to finish off the series at home two days later.
Quick turned aside several good Sharks chances in the second period before Los Angeles doubled its lead. Voynov ripped a long shot that redirected off Richards, the Kings’ leading postseason scorer with seven points in seven games.
The goal gave the Kings their first two-goal lead of the entire postseason, and the Sharks had their first two-goal deficit of the playoffs.
Shortly after the Kings’ first power play early in the third period, the puck ended coming to a complete stop next to Niemi in his crease without the goalie knowing where it was. Scott Hannan dived to knock the puck away with his hand.
NOTES: Sharks RW Marty Havlat missed his fourth straight game with a lower-body injury. ... Jarret Stoll was hit illegally by San Jose’s Raffi Torres late in the second period, and Los Angeles’ veteran center didn’t play in the third.... Kings coach Darryl Sutter coached current Sharks Patrick Marleau, Hannan and Brad Stuart during his tenure in San Jose from 1997-2003. Marleau, the franchise scoring leader, was an 18-year-old rookie on Sutter’s first team in San Jose.