SAN JOSE -- Sharks defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic would relish another chance to play against Los Angeles Kings center Anze Kopitar and his line in Game 6 of the Western Conference semifinal series Sunday at HP Pavilion.
Vlasic and defensive partner Justin Braun were matched up against the Kopitar line, which then had Justin Williams and Dustin Brown, for most of games 3 and 4 in San Jose but were not on the ice as much against Kopitar in Game 5 on Thursday in Los Angeles. Kopitar had a power play assist in Game 4 and scored on the power play on Thursday.
"I love it, playing against the best players, if you shut them down, it's a challenge," Vlasic said Saturday. "You're playing the best players in the world. That's why I wanted to play in the NHL. You want to play the best players. That's what we're doing right now.
"It's big challenge for us. Coach has a lot of confidence is us to do that job, and we have to make sure we do it for the team."
Kopitar played with Williams and Kyle Clifford in Game 5, and Sharks coach Todd McLellan said he'd be willing to use Vlasic and Braun against any of the Kings' top three lines.
"We'll take whatever we can get. They're an elite pair," McLellan said. "Kopitar's line is very good, (Mike) Richards' line has been excellent and the Lewis line's been playing well. We have three pairs we can play against anybody. Whoever they end up on the ice against, they're going to have to produce."
Kings coach Darryl Sutter was complimentary of Vlasic and Braun, both 26, on Sunday, particularly Vlasic, saying he's "an underrated player. You look at his age and you think he's young guy, but he has a lot of experience. His M.O. hasn't changed. When he came into the league, that's what he did. He's a shot blocker, he moves the puck, he knows the game."
For more on the Sharks, see David Pollak's Working the Corners blog at blogs.mercurynews.com/sharks.