Kings right wing Justin Williams, who hasn't played since March 21… (Jamie Sabau / NHLI via Getty…)
Right wing Justin Williams, out of the Kings' lineup since he dislocated his right shoulder March 21, had no difficulty absorbing bumps from teammate Drew Doughty in practice Tuesday and planned to talk with Coach Terry Murray to discuss his status for the team's playoff opener Thursday at San Jose.
"Since contact came in I've felt fine. I battled Dewey a little bit today and felt fine," said Williams, who must wear a restrictive harness. "I told him to play me hard, battle me a little bit, because a lot of my game is shaking off checks and if I'm not comfortable and can't do that, my impact goes down drastically."
Williams and Murray said they would reach a decision before the final pre-series practice Wednesday in El Segundo. If Williams plays, he would have a top-six role.
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Murray said he formulated a few lineups that include Williams and expects the skillful right wing to play.
"He's put in so much work since the injury," Murray said. "He's geared himself mentally, right from the time he was injured, to play in the playoffs so I do expect that. I just need to hear it."
Murray's tentative lineup also includes enforcer Kevin Westgarth.
"He might play in the early part of the series and as you move into the deeper part of it you need to take a look at the lineup … and minutes will diminish for that role," Murray said.
The series promises to feature some good physical battles. Doughty got the verbal battles started — in a friendly way.
Doughty said he has exchanged texts with Sharks forward and longtime friend Logan Couture, a prime rookie-of-the-year candidate after a 32-goal, 56-point debut. They grew up together in the Canadian city of London, Ontario, and played on the same triple-A team. They also see each other over the summer.
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"But it's playoffs and there's no friends out there right now," Doughty said.
Doughty admitted to doing some chirping.
"He can chirp me too. It won't really faze me. I'm sure we'll be chirping back and forth the whole time," Doughty said. "We're not going to be friends on the ice. Not that I'm going to get too deep into the chirping but I'll definitely throw a couple out there."
Sticking with Quick
Murray made it clear Tuesday he intends to ride goaltender Jonathan Quick in this series. Asked whether he might start Jonathan Bernier at any point, Murray was emphatically negative.
"No. Not a start, no," Murray said. "Quicker is going to be the goaltender. He is our goaltender. He's our No. 1 guy. He was all of last year and this year and he will start the series and play the series."
Looking at Sharks
Courtesy of colleague David Pollak of the San Jose Mercury News, here is what the Sharks' lines and defense pairs have been the last few days: Joe Thornton-Patrick Marleau-Devin Setoguchi; Ryane Clowe-Logan Couture-Dany Heatley; Torrey Mitchell-Joe Pavelski-Kyle Wellwood; Ben Eager-Scott Nichol-Jamal Mayers; Douglas Murray-Dan Boyle; Marc-Edouard Vlasic-Jason Demers and Niclas Wallin-Ian White.