The Sharks dumped the Los Angeles Kings 6-3 Thursday night to
open a Western Conference quarterfinal series.
Forwards Joe Thornton, Tomas Hertl, Patrick Marleau, Raffi Torres,
Brent Burns and defensemen Marc-Edouard Vlasic scored, chasing Los
Angeles goalie and playoff nemesis Jonathan Quick in the process.
"We weren't ready to go from the start," Kings captain Dustin Brown
said. "When you're sloppy against a team like that, and they're good
on the forecheck and can cause turnovers when you're not sharp,
they're going to get a lot of chances."
Game 2 of the best-of-seven series is set for Sunday in San Jose.
"It was a great start, and we'll need that again in Game 2," Vlasic
The Kings scored twice in the first seven minutes of the final
period, and once more late to make the final respectable. Sharks
goaltender Antti Niemi stopped 31 shots during the win.
However, the result was all about San Jose's tenacious start. The
Sharks made a statement in the opening period, scoring three times
during a very physical start to take a 3-0 lead into the locker
room. Two of the goals came in the period's final minute.
A turnover by Kings center Jeff Carter sprung a Sharks two-on-one in
the dying seconds. Marleau tapped in a feed from right winger Matt
Nieto with 3.2 seconds remaining to bring the fans to their feet and
the building to a fever pitch, capping a period in which the teams
combined for 55 hits.
Hertl scored his first playoff goal with 51.7 seconds remaining in
the first. The rookie capped a fortuitous passing play, banging home
a puck that squirted his way after center James Sheppard partially
fanned on a shot from the left circle.
"First period, chasing the puck," Kings coach Darryl Sutter said.
"You're not going to beat a team like that chasing the puck around
Thornton, San Jose's captain, started the scoring by deflecting left
winger Joe Pavelski's soft backhand drive from the slot that had
Quick turning late. Burns negated an icing by beating Kings
defenseman Robin Regehr to a loose puck, and he fed Pavelski from
behind the Los Angeles goal.
"It was nice to get to (Quick) early," Vlasic said. "Guys found the
back of the net."
San Jose's momentum carried over to the second period, and the hosts
padded the lead to five goals after the Kings kept the Sharks quiet
during the first 10 minutes.
Torres picked up a carom of Vlasic's drive that rang off the left
post to beat a screened Quick from the high slot at 12:57 to make it
Vlasic, who had a number of close chances earlier, finally found the
back of the net with a drive Quick got a piece of, but not enough,
for a power-play tally at 16:29.
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Aside from the scoring, the Sharks clamped down during two
short-handed situations and also pressured the Kings into penalties
that added up to three power plays for the hosts in the opening 40
The hits stood at 52-43 in Los Angeles' favor through two periods,
and the Kings held a 24-23 edge in the faceoff circle, but the
Sharks certainly took full advantage of their 28-18 edge in shots.
Facing a five-goal deficit, Sutter opted to pull Quick in favor of
rookie Martin Jones for the final period. Jones stopped all four
shots he faced.
San Jose managed only 10 goals in a seven-game series loss to Los
Angeles in the second round last spring.
"We got fortunate to get a couple of those goals," Thornton said.
Los Angeles defenseman Jake Muzzin beat Niemi with a shot from just
above the left circle at 2:01 of the third period, and fellow
defenseman Slava Voynov wired a shot past the screened San Jose
goalie at 6:55. Center Trevor Lewis redirected a Carter shot in at
"If you sit back against a team like, that that's what they're going
to do," Torres said.
The Sharks' lead was down to 5-3, but Burns' unassisted goal in the
final minute sealed the win.
NOTES: Los Angeles G Jonathan Quick came into the postseason with
the most wins (25) and shutouts (six) and the best goals-against
average (1.62) and save percentage (.940) over the last two playoff
years among all NHL goalies. ... The home team won 17 of the last 18
regular-season and playoff meetings between the two rivals through
Game 1. ... Thursday marked the first time both LW Tomas Hertl and
RW Raffi Torres were in San Jose's lineup at the same time. Torres
missed the final 17 games of the season after appearing in five
games between Feb. 27-March 8. Hertl missed 45 games until playing
in the final two of the regular season. Both returned from
early-season knee surgery. ... San Jose's scratches included RW
Marty Havlat, LW Bracken Kearns, RW Tyler Kennedy and D Matt
Tennyson. RW Adam Burish is out with a finger injury. ... D Matt
Greene, RW Linden Vey and LW Tanner Pearson did not dress for Los
Angeles. ... A power outage darkened the building briefly before
warmups but did not delay the opening faceoff.
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