Joe Pavelski and Martin Jones took only a moment's satisfaction from a second straight excellent road effort by the San Jose Sharks.
No series lead is comforting after what happened when San Jose faced the Kings two years ago, but at least the Sharks know they're heading home playing the right way.
Pavelski scored his third goal in two games, Jones made 27 saves and the Sharks took a 2-0 series lead on the Kings with a 2-1 victory in Game 2 on Saturday night.
Logan Couture also scored for the Sharks, who largely dominated their California rivals for long stretches of their second straight road victory.
They're in command of the series with three of the next four games at home — but neither team has forgotten the Kings lost the first three games of their first-round series with San Jose in 2014, only to win four straight.
"It means it's a good start," Pavelski said. "That's all it means. There's still a lot of work to do."
Game 3 is Monday night at the Shark Tank.
Jones made several key stops against his former Los Angeles teammates and hung on after losing his shutout bid on Vincent Lecavalier's power-play goal with 5:01 to play.
This is familiar territory: The Sharks went up 3-0 on Los Angeles in the first round in 2014, only to blow the entire lead when the Kings roared back.
While the Sharks' core is largely the same, the addition of several complementary players and coach Peter DeBoer suggest things could be different this year.
"It was a man's game — a lot of physical contact, a lot of hard battles," DeBoer said. "It's always a key to play with the lead, especially against LA. You want to play out front of them. To get the first goal really got us into the game."
Pavelski was dominant in the series opener, scoring on the Sharks' first shot before adding the go-ahead goal early in the third period. He scored on the Sharks' first shot again in Game 2, slipping it through traffic past Jonathan Quick, his U.S. Olympic teammate.
"That's one of the better starts we've had against them," Pavelski said. "We knew they were going to ramp it up a level. That's what this team does."
When Los Angeles took simultaneous penalties in the second period, Couture scored during 5-on-3 play after Quick got far out of position. That was enough offence to beat the Kings, who went nearly 78 minutes between goals.
Quick stopped 21 shots while losing to his former backup again.
"I think (Game 2) was much better than the first game," Kings coach Darryl Sutter said. "They scored on their first shot. Usually it's a game of little mistakes, but it didn't deter us much."
The Kings struggled for offence despite a boost from the return of Marian Gaborik, who missed the past two months with a knee injury. Top goal-scorer Tyler Toffoli was shut out again, and top scorer Anze Kopitar made little impact as the Sharks largely confined the Kings to the perimeter of the ice.
"We've been good on the road all year," Pavelski said. "That gives you a little confidence to come in here and handle things."
Indeed, the Sharks led the NHL with 28 road victories this season, and they've snagged two more at Staples Center. But now they've got to go back to San Jose, where they were a sub-.500 team.
"For sure it's going to be well-documented how we played at home this year," Couture said. "We've got to bring it."
Gaborik had missed 29 straight games since Feb. 12, but he returned to the Kings' starting lineup for Game 2. The Slovak scorer had a phenomenal post-season in 2014, contributing 14 goals on the way to his first Stanley Cup title.
"We're beating ourselves out there," Gaborik said. "We have to correct a lot of things. We didn't generate a whole lot of scoring chances. We have to have (Martin) Jones work way more than he's been working. We had a pretty good surge at the end there, but it was too late. We have to regroup, go to San Jose, and come back with a tied series."
NOTES: Kings D Alec Martinez missed another game with an injury, and Jamie McBain made his playoff debut. Sutter said McBain was the Kings' best defenceman in Game 2, and Gaborik was their best forward. ... Pavelski has seven goals in his past seven games against Los Angeles. ... Drew Doughty played 28:52 for the Kings.