Programming note: Coverage of Game 2 between the Sharks and Kings begins Sunday at 6:30 p.m. on CSN California with Sharks Pregame Live.
SAN JOSE – Raffi Torres was among the more effective Sharks players in their 6-3 triumph in Game 1 on Thursday night, despite skating for a team-low eight minutes and 42 seconds.
The 32-year-old, who played on an gritty fourth line with Mike Brown and Andrew Desjardins, had one goal and +1 rating and was credited with a team-high seven hits.
Playing for the first time since March 8, the challenge for Torres will be maintaining the health of his right knee so he can continue to play his style, which so plainly adds to the Sharks’ attack. After the game, Torres was asked if he was confident he could compete at the same level over a seven-game series, or longer.
“If everything goes as well as it did tonight, then yeah, for sure,” Torres said. “I’ll see how I feel tomorrow because the adrenaline is still going, and all that kind of stuff. I’ll try and get at least three hours of sleep tonight and see how it goes.”
It took less than five minutes for Torres to get involved physically, when Brown drove himself and Slava Voynov into the crease, knocking over Jonathan Quick and leading to a pile up around the net involving everyone on the ice except for Antti Niemi.
Whether Quick, who had allowed just one goal at that point, was affected by the play, no one knows. Torres didn’t consider the incident a major one, and neither did Todd McLellan.
“I think it’s just part of the game. It’s going to happen. It’s playoff hockey,” Torres said. ”Any time somebody is going to go near the opposing team’s goalie, you’re going to have those little scrums. I don’t think it’s a big deal.”
McLellan said: “[Brown] shot the puck, and he followed it. We want our players to do that. The defenseman tried to box out and there was contact made. That’s part of the game. That’s going to happen. I just thought that that line gave us some needed energy, especially early in the game.”
The hit statistic, while not always accurate, stood out on the game sheet. The Kings were credited with 69, while the Sharks had 52, matching their franchise record that was set on April 3 vs. Los Angeles.
“We want to play physical, our line especially,” said Brown, who got the call to play over a healthy Marty Havlat. “We know what we have to do when we get on the ice. We got to get pucks deep and we have to get in on their defensemen. We have to let them know we’ll be coming. That’s what we did. We established that right away.”
Torres' presence helped, and he'll hope to continue to play a significant role in the series.
"I love playing a high-tempo game like that," he said.