Colin Fraser puts a shot on Antti Niemi, an area the Kings feel they can improve… (Wally Skalij / Los Angeles…)
A shutout victory might look dominant on the scoreboard, but the Kings' players and coaches saw room for improvement after Tuesday night's 2-0 win over the San Jose Sharks.
Mike Richards, who scored midway through the second period, did not like the way his team started out, with San Jose forcing most of the action in the first 10 minutes.
"They had a lot of time to make plays," Richards said. "At the beginning of a series, it sometimes feels like you're trying to feel out people, but luckily it didn't cost us."
The Kings not only managed to score at the end of the first period, they also found a rhythm in the second and shut down a Sharks power play that has been very effective in this postseason.
But Kings Coach Darryl Sutter talked about a third period in which the Sharks outshot his team, 16-4. It took more than a few saves by goalie Jonathan Quick to preserve the shutout.
"He was really good," Sutter said. "You expect that."
Center Jarret Stoll sat out the third period after suffering an injury near the end of the second period.
Stoll, who had recorded five hits and played well on faceoffs to that point, was hurt when he took a hard hit from San Jose left winger Raffi Torres.
Torres was sent off the ice for charging.
Several Kings seemed upset about the play and Dustin Brown said he thought Torres hit Stoll shoulder-to-head. Sutter chose not to comment, other than to say of Stoll: "We weren't resting him and he didn't come back."
Left wing Kyle Clifford missed his second playoff game in a row.
The Kings have not disclosed the reason for Clifford's absence. Sutter has been asked whether he would give details about the player's apparent injury on several occasions in recent days, always delivering variations of the same, brief answer: "No."
Jordan Nolan has been filling in on the fourth line.
"I think they're very similar players, comparable players," said Colin Fraser, who centers the line with rookie Tyler Toffoli on the right. "They're both big guys that skate very well and are physical and, if need be, both can fight."
Kings defenseman Matt Greene was on the ice for the morning skate but was also scratched from the lineup for Game 1 against the Sharks. There is still no word on his return to regular duty.