SAN JOSE -- At a time of the year when he's typically dealing with the aches and pains that come with playing a full slate of regular-season games, Sharks defenseman Brad Stuart said Sunday his body feels as good right now as it has in a long time.
Stuart, 34, dealt with a lower body injury through the summer and wasn't able to do much skating once training camp began in September. He then suffered an upper body injury Feb. 7 against Columbus, the Sharks' last game before the Olympic break, which kept him out of the lineup for 13 games after the break ended.
Stuart returned March 24 against Calgary and played the final 10 regular-season games. He said the six-week break between games, when he was still able to skate, helped build his fitness level back to where it needed to be before the start of the Sharks' first-round playoff series against the Los Angeles Kings.
"I was injured through the break and after the break. I was still able to train and work on my lower body, which I wasn't able to do in the summer," said Stuart, who played in 61 regular-season games. "It helped a lot. I was able to skate the whole time. I'm as healthy at this point of the year as I have been in a long time."
Sunday's 7-2 Sharks' victory marked Stuart's 137th career playoff game and his 79th consecutive playoff start. As was the case in Game 1 on Thursday, Stuart and defensive partner Justin Braun were mostly matched up against the Kings' line of Mike Richards, Jeff Carter and Dwight King in Game 2.
Stuart said the key for all of the Sharks' defensive pairings will be to see how they are able to adjust for the third game in Los Angeles on Tuesday when the Kings have the last change.
"It's important as an individual to have an objective, and if you know you're playing a certain player or a certain line, you can prepare for that," Stuart said. "But you also have to be prepared to go on the road and not get that."
Fellow center Andrew Desjardins said on those occasions when he's had difficulty winning draws, he usually tries to create some sort of commotion in the circle.
"The main thing is trying to get your wingers involved. You're trying to create more of a scrum situation if you're not being successful," Desjardins said. "I know that's what I try to do, try to tell my wingers to make sure they help me out.
"When you have a good guy like Stoll and he's snapping back, you may want to start a scrum. It's one of those things where you need everybody to help out."
"We're getting used to playing with each other and he's easy to read off of," Hannan said of playing with Boyle. "He moves the puck so well and sees the ice. I just try to figure out where to go when I'm out there with him. If it's in the corners, I can help get the puck out of the there and let him make the plays."
Both Hannan and Boyle are unrestricted free agents at the end of the season. Hannan said he'd like to return to the Sharks next season but added his focus is just on this series.
"We'll take things one day at a time," Hannan said. "If it works out next year that I can come back, great. But we'll take that when it comes."