The matchups

A closer look at the Sharks' playoff series against the Los Angeles Kings.

TWO GOALIES, ONE STANLEY CUP EACH

Each team has a netminder who's been there when it comes to getting his team's 16th win of an NHL playoff run -- the Sharks' Antti Niemi with the Chicago Blackhawks in 2010, the Kings' Jonathan Quick just a year ago. Credit Quick with the more impressive numbers: a 1.41 GAA, a .946 save percentage and a 16-4 record that earned him the Conn Smythe Trophy. Niemi, on the other hand, had a monster Western Conference finals against the Sharks that year, limiting San Jose to seven goals in four games. But his overall numbers were only so-so in Chicago's overall run with a 2.63 GAA and .910 save percentage. This year, though has been an improvement, with Niemi at 1.86 and .937 after the sweep of Vancouver.

Edge: Kings

ONE MAN UP

The Sharks' power play was second-best among the NHL's 16 playoff teams for the first round, connecting at 29.2 percent (7 for 24) against Vancouver. Joe Pavelski had three power-play goals against the Canucks, and Scott Gomez showed his value when he anchored the second power-play unit in games three and four. But the Sharks can't expect to get an average of six power plays a game against the Kings, who were a man down just 17 times in six games against St. Louis. Although San Jose likely will get fewer opportunities with the man advantage, it's still an area it can be better at than Los Angeles. The Kings were just 2 of 15 on the power play against the Blues.

Edge: Sharks

ONE MAN DOWN

A big reason the Sharks swept Vancouver was their discipline, as they had to kill just 10 penalties and Niemi allowed just two power-play goals. But the Kings have been exceptional at killing penalties since Darryl Sutter took over as coach last season, and their unit killed 92.1 percent of penalties in their Stanley Cup run last season. Against the Blues, the Kings allowed just two power-play goals on 17 chances and Quick stopped 20 of 22 shots when his team was down a man. The Sharks will be without noted penalty killer Adam Burish for the duration of the series.

Edge: Kings

EVERY MOVE THEY MAKE, EVERY STEP THEY TAKE

Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Justin Braun did an exceptional job of shutting down Vancouver's Daniel and Henrik Sedin in the first round, holding the twins to one assist each when they were all on the ice at the same time. Overall the Sharks' defense and Niemi held the Canucks to eight goals in four games. Although the Kings are not an explosive team, they do have good depth up front. Vlasic and Braun likely will be matched against one of the Kings' top two lines -- Anze Kopitar, Dustin Brown and Justin Williams or Jeff Carter, Mike Richards and Dwight King. It shapes up to be a greater challenge since those players are bigger and are proven playoff performers.

Edge: Even

LOMBARDI-SUTTER CONNECTION

Longtime San Jose fans don't need to be reminded that when the Kings won the 2012 Stanley Cup, the man running the front office (general manager Dean Lombardi) and the man behind the bench (Darryl Sutter) formed the Sharks' brain trust from 1997 to 2002. Since then, San Jose has run up against each in the postseason with mixed results, losing to Sutter's Calgary Flames in the 2004 Western Conference finals in six games and eliminating Lombardi's Kings in the opening round of the 2011 postseason by that same 4-2 outcome. This, though, is the first time the Sharks will see how they fare against Lombardi and Sutter combined.

Edge: Even

CHILDHOOD BUDDIES, RIVALS ON THE ICE

The Stanley Cup is the ultimate goal, but bragging rights back home in London, Ontario, are also on the line when Sharks sniper Logan Couture and Kings top defender Drew Doughty -- boyhood friends -- face each other. "We're both very competitive guys. Even when we were younger and played basketball or something like that, neither of us wanted to lose," Doughty said before the two met in the final game of the regular season. Couture looks at it similarly. "Of course I'm excited," Couture said of the chance to face Doughty again. "Round 1, I texted him before, said 'good luck' against St. Louis. Just so happens we're going to see him in Round 2. Probably won't text him until the series is over." Couture was on the winning side in the 2011 playoffs, but Doughty has his name on the Cup. That trumps.

Edge: Kings

BACK FROM THE DEAD

The most memorable night from the 2011 series between the teams was Game 3. After gaining a split at HP Pavilion, the Kings shot out to a 3-0 first-period lead at Staples Center, and when Brad Richardson made it 4-0 less than a minute into the second, Niemi's night was over and Antero Niittymaki's was beginning. But the Sharks weren't surrendering. Patrick Marleau, Ryane Clowe and Couture scored to pull San Jose within one at 13:32 before Ryan Smyth scored for the Kings 15 seconds later. But Clowe's second goal of the period at 18:35 and another by Pavelski at 19:29 made it 5-5 going into the third. Amazingly, nobody scored until 3:09 of OT when Devin Setoguchi gave the Sharks a 6-5 win and enabled them to become only the fourth team in NHL playoff history to come back from a four-goal deficit.

Edge: Sharks