Kings vs. Sharks: Key matchups in NHL playoff series

Keys to the first-round playoff series between the Los Angeles Kings and the San Jose Sharks:

1. Martin Jones: The former understudy to Kings goalie Jonathan Quick finally gets his turn in the postseason. He knows the Kings and they are as familiar with his skill set. How will Jones handle his first playoff start?

2. Special teams: Slowing down the Sharks' potent power play could prove to be a formidable task. San Jose finished the regular season ranked third in the NHL on the power play, behind the Ducks and Chicago. The Sharks went five for 23 in five games against the Kings. Joe Pavelski led the Sharks with three power-play goals in the season series.

3. Marc-Edouard Vlasic: He isn't Drew Doughty — who is? — but Vlasic is hugely important for the Sharks and they were clearly not the same team when the shutdown defenseman was injured during the latter stages of the Kings-Sharks series in 2014. Vlasic has been out because of an injured knee since March 17 and is set to return for Game 1. His effectiveness will be tested early by Kings center Anze Kopitar and company.

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