The Quick And The Frustrated- Jonathan Quick picked a bad time to have one of his best post season games as far as the San Jose Sharks are concerned. Quick answered every scoring chance the Sharks could muster and came up with 35 saves as the Los Angeles Kings took the first game of the best of seven Western Semi-Final series 2-0 at the Staples Center. The Sharks Tuesday Night suffered through what may have very well have been one of their most frustrating nights of the season. The Sharks played a decent game and did not make too many mistakes. However, they did make just enough mistakes and that’s all Quick and the Kings would need to win this series opener. Slava Voynov, who’s been a thorn in the Sharks side during the head to head games this season scored what proved to be the game winning goal with just 12.9 seconds to go in the first period. The Sharks had won a faceoff in the Kings defensive zone, then almost immediately lost track of the puck. Michael Richards would take the puck and carry it across ice to the Sharks defensive zone. Despite being well defended by Matt Irwin, Richards was able to feed the puck to Voynov. From there Voynov got clear of Irwin and drilled a slap shot that beat Sharks goalie Antti Niemi top shelf.
Power Play Stalled- The Sharks did have some excellent chances to get on the board during the game. The Sharks on the evening had three power play opportunities, the first of which came at 5:23 of the first period when the Kings’ Jake Muzzin was called for interference. Joe Pavelski, Logan Couture and Patrick Marleau would all have shots on goal with Marleau’s coming right at the Kings’ goal crease. However Quick was having none of it and slammed the door in what would become an all night process for team teal. Joe Thronton and TJ Galiardi would get shut down by Quick moments after the power play expired. The Sharks would get one more chance in the second period after the Kings’ Anze Kopitar was given two minutes for hooking Brent Burns. The result would be almost the same, with the only difference being the Kings penalty kill units stepping up their game and holding the Sharks to a single shot on goal which came from Dan Boyle late in the power play. Team teal got one more chance in the third period early after Richards was called for hooking. For the Sharks, it would be the same sad tune repeating itself, lots of rubber and no net thanks to Quick and the Kings’ penalty kill units.
Niemi’s Tough Night- For Niemi, this was neither his best night nor his worst. Niemi made 18 saves for the game and saw a lot less traffic in the final period. The Sharks defensively did plenty to shut down the Kings and keep them close. Despite their best efforts it simply would not be enough. The Kings picked up their second goal of the evening with 7:30 remaining in the second period when Richards would tip in a slap shot drilled by Voynov. The puck hit Richards stick, redirecting the puck where it would beat Niemi five hole. The Sharks except for Voynov and Richards ofcourse kept the rest of the Kings’ in check with a very good defensive effort. The big guns for the Kings’, Kopitar, Jeff Carter, Dustin Brown, Justin Williams, and Dustin Penner were held in check and at bay for the evening. Again, it was just not enough. Game One of this series will go down as one where the Sharks were good, however they were not “Quick Enough”. The Sharks now need to regroup, break down what worked and what didn’t in this first game and get ready for Game Two at the Staples Center Thursday Night.
Shark Bytes- The Three Stars of the Game were all from the Los Angeles Kings… 3) Michael Richards; 2) Slava Voynov, and 1) Jonathan Quick. The fact the Sharks outshot the Kings 35-20 either proves the Sharks were in this game, or it can prove just how off such as statistic can be. It will probably serve more as a frustrating reminder to the Sharks that they are not playing Vancouver anymore. The Kings physicality played a big role in keeping the Sharks off balance for the later part of the first period and throughout the second period. The Sharks have a lot of work to do and will need to get to that quickly if they have designs of winning the series. As Sharks Radio commentator and color man Jamie Baker said in the Sharks Radio post game show, the “…Sharks have to know they are in for a long series, and (LA) knows they are in a long series too.” Baker continued; “The Sharks will be much better when they come out Thursday Night…” They certainly will need to be.
Next Sharks Game- Thursday Night Game 2 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, Sharks versus the Kings. Puck drop is at 7pm Pacific Time and the game will be carried on NBC Sports Net (USA), and TSN (Canada)….
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