Los Angeles goaltender Jonathan Quick put in a stellar performance to help the Kings to a 2-0 win over the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday in the opening game of their National Hockey League (NHL) Western Conference semi-finals.
In the day’s other playoff game, the Pittsburgh Penguins beat the Ottawa Senators 4-1 in the opener of their Eastern series.
LA goalie Quick made 35 saves in his sixth career playoff shutout, negating the Sharks’ superior speed and passing.
“We wanted to get off on a good foot, no matter how we had to do it,” Quick said after his 25th career playoff victory, one shy of Kelly Hrudey’s franchise record. “We got better during this game, but we’ve got some work to do.”
Slava Voynov and Mike Richards each had a goal and an assist in the Stanley Cup winners’ 11th straight victory at Staples Center since March, but the Kings’ win rested squarely on Quick, who delivered yet another dominant playoff performance.
Quick yielded just 10 goals in the six-game first round against St Louis.
The Sharks and Kings are meeting in the postseason for the second time in three years, accentuating their already strong California 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.
Pittsburgh’s Paul Martin and Chris Kunitz scored power-play goals, while Pascal Dupuis added his sixth goal of the playoffs to get the Penguins off to a winning start.
Evgeni Malkin extended his points streak to seven games with a goal and an assist for the Penguins, while Tomas Vokoun stopped 35 shots to win his third straight game since replacing struggling starter Marc-Andre Fleury.
Colin Greening scored for the Senators. Craig Anderson made 26 saves, but Ottawa had no answer for Pittsburgh’s power play.
The Senators had the NHL’s best penalty kill during the regular season and turned aside 16 of 19 penalties against Montreal in the first round.
Yet they could not stop the Penguins from going two for four on the power play to improve to nine of 24 with the man advantage in the playoffs — the best of the eight teams remaining.
Game 2 is scheduled for today and the Penguins appear to be hitting their stride after needing six games to get by the New York Islanders in the opening round.
“I love the way our team came out and played that game,” Pittsburgh coach Dan Bylsma said. “We’re not just counting on one guy to carry a load.”
The 36-year-old Vokoun made his 713th NHL start on Tuesday, but his first with the stakes this big. Despite admitting to some butterflies when told he would get the starting assignment for Game 1, Vokoun overcame some shaky moments early to settle down.