Sharks' Stalock could get first career playoff start in Game 6

Sharks' Stalock could get first career playoff start in Game 6
April 27, 2014, 12:30 pm
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Just to be back in them, it’s a fun time of year. It’s the goal, obviously, every year to get in. Get some chances, and make the most of it.
Alex Stalock

SAN JOSE – Alex Stalock is typically one of the last players off of the ice when the Sharks practice, but that wasn’t the case on Sunday, as the 26-year-old took fewer shots than normal for on an off-day skate.

That could be an indication that the 26-year-old is preparing for first career playoff start in Game 6 in Los Angeles at Staples Center on Monday night, but head coach Todd McLellan would not confirm if that’s the case.

“We’ve got to talk about that yet today,” Todd McLellan said. “We’ll make a decision and let him know when it’s time.”

Stalock, who played in each of the last two games in relief of a struggling Antti Niemi, will be prepared if he’s the guy.

“All year, it’s been just being ready,” he said. “If it is, you get a chance and you go in.”

[REWIND: Sharks take mental vacation in 3-0 loss to Kings]

Stalock has stopped all 26 shots he’s faced in games four and five in 57 combined minutes, and looked particularly strong on Thursday night, perhaps the only Sharks player than can be proud of his performance in disturbing a 3-0 home defeat.

“It was good,” Stalock said. “I’ve said before we even started, I haven’t personally been in playoffs since my rookie year (in AHL Worcester). Just to be back in them, it’s a fun time of year. It’s the goal, obviously, every year to get in. Get some chances, and make the most of it.”

Not only were Stalock’s numbers better than Niemi’s in the regular season, the Minnesota native is much better at handling the puck. That could aid the Sharks against an aggressive Kings forecheck.

[Instant Replay: Kings blank Sharks, force Game 6]

McLellan said he would have no reservations giving Stalock the start.

“Al looked good. He looked good in practice. We have two to pick from,” said the coach.

When asked about Stalock, Logan Couture said: "Al's always looked good. I've been with Al for years. I was with him in the minors. I've seen him play a lot of games. I'm confident with Al, and I'm confident with Nemo, both of them. I've been around Al for a while. He's a battler."

Niemi is 3-2 with a 3.90 goals-against average and .882 save percentage in the 2014 playoffs.