SAN JOSE -- Jonathan Quick is a Los Angeles Kings goalie. He is not a doorman behind a velvet rope at a nightclub entrance. But you'd never know it, given the Sharks' difficulty getting pucks past him.

Maybe that's because they are treating him more as a doorman. And treating the Kings' defensive zone coverage as more of a velvet rope.

Excuse me, Mr. Quick. Could we push your defensemen out of the way here a little bit, so that we could score a goal? Puh-leeez? Mr. Quick? What do you mean we can't get in? Don't you know who we are? We're the guys with the great power play! Our names should be on the list! Look again!

The velvet rope strategy must end Sunday night for the Sharks, or their season will be over. They face Quick and the Kings at HP Pavilion in Game 6 of a series that ends if the Sharks lose. And it will end, unless they solve Quick. He's shut out the Sharks twice in the series. He's allowed seven goals total in the five games.

"When you get your chance, you've got to bear down on him," said Sharks captain Joe Thornton.

Which means what?

"When you get within 10 feet of him, you've got to find the opening, find the hole," Thornton said. "You hope to use his aggressiveness against him, use the back door."

Doesn't sound impossible. It certainly wasn't two years ago. If the Sharks plan to extend this series, they might try getting a little nostalgic for 2011. The beloved Los Tiburones defeated Quick and the Kings in a first-round playoff series and made it look relatively easy. They scored six goals in two of the games, scored four in another -- and 20 in all. Thornton scored the series-winning goal in overtime of Game 6, celebrating with a memorable spinning skid on his back across the ice.

So what's the difference between Quick then and Quick now?

"I think he's just getting better," Thornton said. "That was one of his first playoff series back in 2011. The more years you play in this league, the better you get. He's been getting better."

Makes sense, along with some other elements. The Kings have better players around the 27-year-old Quick than they did two years ago. Some are young defenders who've matured along with him. Some are newer acquisitions. Also, L.A. coach Darryl Sutter emphasizes defensive zone play more than his predecessor, Terry Murray, did.

Still, if they Sharks want some clues in how to beat Quick more often this time around, they can study how they defeated the Kings in that 2011 series. Their leading scorer was Ryane Clowe, with four goals and seven points over the six games. Clowe is gone from the current Sharks, dealt to the New York Rangers at the trade deadline. But everyone remembers how he earned most of his goals here. Few were beautiful.

Logan Couture, in fact, owns a photographic memory about this stuff. After Saturday's practice at Sharks Ice, he recalled three of Clowe's goals from that 2011 series vividly. Two were deflected off other players' sticks, Couture said. Another was a backdoor goal. It's all part of the "bearing down" mantra cited by Thornton.

"It means when you get a chance, score," Couture said.

Of course, the Sharks were also trying to score Thursday, when they were shut out. They're trying to score in every game.

"Trying to," Couture said, almost spitting the words. "But 'trying to' is not scoring. A lot of teams 'try to' score this time of year. The ones that score are the ones who win it all."

This doesn't mean the Sharks need to rough up Quick. That's begging for penalties. But they must make his job harder. One handy example: The Sharks' weak power play performance in Game 5. In six extra-man minutes, they managed just four shots. Two came on the first power play -- and both were launched 60 feet away from Quick, by Sharks defensemen Dan Boyle and Matt Irwin. The long missiles were easily blockaded by Quick. And no Sharks were close enough to either distract him or create potential second-chance shots.

Odds remain strong that this series will go seven games. The Kings and Sharks, over the past two regular seasons and playoffs, have faced each other 15 times. The home team has won 14 of those games. But if the Sharks wish to keep that trend alive, they need to alter their attitude toward Quick. How?

By treating him like a goalie with blocker pads. Not as a doorman with a velvet rope.

Contact Mark Purdy at mpurdy@mercurynews.com. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/MercPurdy.

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The Sharks remain confident but also are desperate for a win. Page 3
Injured forward Adam Burish says he feels ready to play. Page 3.
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