Wingers Justin Williams and Marian Gaborik scored two goals each,
goaltender Jonathan Quick made 33 saves and the Los Angeles Kings
defeated the San Jose Sharks 6-3 on Thursday.
The win staves off elimination for the Kings, and they will try to
extend the series on Saturday in San Jose still trailing 3-1 in the
series after the win. Only three teams have ever rallied from a 0-3
hole in NHL history.
With Kings coach Darryl Sutter trying to produce more offense
against the offensively-gifted Sharks, he moved team captain Dustin
Brown up to the top line with Gaborik and center Anze Kopitar. The
move paid off as Brown's physical play added a missing component to
a line that was ineffective in the series' first three games.
"For me it's just getting to the net," said Brown. "If I can blow my
way to the net, it opens up space of the other guys."
Williams also benefited from a fresh look as he alternated on lines
centered by Jarret Stoll and Mike Richards. Thursday, he was
opportunistic as his reputation as a clutch playoff performance was
"You're happy to play in the playoffs but you want to excel in the
playoffs and we haven't been able to do that so far in this series,"
said Williams. "We're trying to push it game by game and win one
more next game."
The Sharks were competitive throughout the game and the feeling in
the locker room was that the effort could have been a winning one on
a different night. They remain confident the series will end back
home at SAP Center on Saturday.
"I don't necessarily think the scoreboard did us justice," said
Sharks center Joe Thornton. "I think we played a pretty solid game,
I think they just got some more of the puck bounces tonight."
Sharks coach Todd McLellan was less impressed with his team's effort
and knows a better defensive effort is needed to send the Kings home
for the summer.
"I didn't like our net play, simple as that, said McLellan. "I
thought we had some intensity to our game and I thought we were as
desperate as they were, but we didn't execute anywhere near the way
Los Angeles took a 4-2 lead after 40 minutes on the strength three
second-period goals, with Williams scoring two in the frame. His
first goal came at 4:14 on a soft shot from the right as he tapped
defenseman Willie Mitchell's shot that rebounded off the back boards
Kings center Tyler Toffoli made it 4-2 with his first playoff goal
of the series at 19:01 with wrist shot that was the result of a shot
by defenseman Alec Martinez that bounced off San Jose center Andrew
Desjardins and bounced into the slot.
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Gaborik's second goal of the night at 34 seconds of the third gave
the Kings a commanding three goal lead and ended Niemi's night.
Center Joe Pavelski netted a power-play goal at 11:36 to bring San
Jose within two again, but winger Dustin Brown added an empty-net
goal at 18:32 to close out the scoring.
The Kings opened the scoring on Gaborik's goal at 4:08 of the first
period. Gaborik beat Sharks defenseman Jason Demers to cash in a
rebound of a shot by Brown.
San Jose knotted the game at 1 at 19:52 of the opening frame on a
goal by center James Sheppard. Defenseman Scott Hannan's shot was
stopped by Quick but popped into the air where Sheppard batted it
After Williams' first goal, the Sharks came from behind again on
rookie winger Matt Nieto's second goal of the series at 8:25 of the
Niemi stopped 21 of 26 Los Angeles shots before yielding to backup
goaltender Alex Stalock.
NOTES: San Jose scratched RW Marty Havlat, RW Adam Burish, C Bracken
Kearns, D Mirco Mueller, RW Matt Pelech, D Matt Irwin, C Travis
Oleksuk, D Dylan Demelo, C Freddie Hamilton, RW Eriah Hayes, D
Taylor Doherty, D Matt Tennyson, C Tyler Kennedy, G Troy Grosenick
and G Harri Sateri. ... The Sharks' overtime win in Game 3 gave them
a perfect 5-0 record in playoff overtime against the Kings. ... The
first-period goal by Sharks C James Sheppard was his first career
playoff goal. ... Los Angeles did not dress D Matt Greene, C Colin
Fraser and C Jordan Nolan. ... Kings C Anze Kopitar was named a
finalist for the Frank J. Selke Trophy along with C Jonathan Toews
and Boston C Patrice Bergeron, the winners over the past two
seasons. The award is presented to the forward who demonstrates the
most skill in the defensive component of the game. It is Kopitar's
first Selke nomination.
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