It's 'Hawks or Kings for Sharks next round

It's 'Hawks or Kings for Sharks next round
May 11, 2013, 9:15 am
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The Sharks faced the Blackhawks three times this season, and lost all three in regulation. (USA TODAY IMAGES)

SAN JOSE - It’s down to two possibilities in the second round for the Sharks.

San Jose will visit either top-seeded Chicago or fifth-seeded Los Angeles in a Western Conference semifinal series starting next week. The Detroit Red Wings beat the Anaheim Ducks on Friday night in overtime, 4-3, with Game 7 set for Sunday night at 7 p.m. PST (NBCSN).

Should the Ducks win on their home ice, the Sharks will face the Blackhawks. If the Red Wings pull the upset, it’s the Kings.

The Sharks will continue to hold closed practices this weekend without knowing their opponent.

“The potential opponents that we have all give us different challenges. Once we do find out, we will be able to narrow down areas of the game that we have to focus on,” Todd McLellan said on Friday. “There was some focus on some of the things our opponents might throw at us (at practice Friday), but it was more about us than them.”

“Once the opponent is known, we can focus a little bit more on situations.”

Chicago won all three games of the season series against the Sharks in regulation, although the two teams haven’t met since late February. The Blackhawks beat the Sharks at HP Pavilion on Feb. 5, 5-3, and won both games at United Center – 4-1 on Feb. 15, and 2-1 on Feb. 22.

San Jose won two of its four games with the Kings. The Sharks held on for a 4-3 victory at home on March 14 before dropping a 5-2 decision at Staples Center two nights later. On April 16 at HP Pavilion, San Jose took a 3-2 win in a shootout, but lost the final game of the regular season in Los Angeles on April 27, 3-2.

The Sharks have met the Kings and Blackhawks once each in the playoffs in franchise history. In 2011, the Sharks beat Los Angeles in six games in the first round. In 2010, Chicago swept San Jose in the Western Conference finals and went on to win the Stanley Cup.

Chicago beat the Minnesota Wild in the first round in five games, while Los Angeles eliminated the St. Louis Blues in six.