A Nightmare Collapse- This could very well be be one of the worst “final moments” collapses in San Jose Sharks history. Los Angeles Kings’ Captain Dustin Brown and Trevor Lewis scored two power play goals in a 22 second span inside of the games final two minutes, lifting the Kings to a shocking 4-3 victory over the Sharks Thursday Night. With the win, the Kings take a 2-0 series lead setting up a must win scenario for the Sharks in Game 3 Saturday night. The Sharks drew two penalties at the worst possible time when Brad Stuart and Marc-Edouard Vlasic were sent to the penalty box with 22 seconds of each other with 2:41 remaining and team teal nursing a 3-2 lead. Stuart was called for tripping, and the Vlasic for delay of game for clearing the puck out of play and over the glass. The replay indicated that the puck had grazed the Kings’ Jeff Carter’s shoulder. The game officials either did not see that or just plain ignored it. The Sharks were down on a 5 on 3 man disadvantage at the worst possible time with the price ending up being Game Two and quite possibly their season. Brown tied the game when he was able to beat Scott Hannan to the puck in front of the Sharks goal crease. Still stunned from Brown’s game tying goal, the Sharks allowed the Kings back up the ice allowing Lewis’ scoring opportunity. Lewis scored the game winner when Sharks goalie Antti Niemi was caught out of position. The Sharks penalty kill, which has gotten them to this point in the season failed miserably Thursday night as three of the four Kings’ goals came from the power play.
The Sharks and Kings entered the third period tied 2-2, with team teal finally getting the puck past Kings’ goalie Jonathan Quick twice in the second period. The third period was largely controlled by the Kings who for about a good three quarters of the period completely controlled the puck and kept it away from the Sharks. Yet it would be the Sharks who would break the tie when Vlasic scored his first career playoff goal, being the last to touch the puck before the rubber biscuit was accidentally knocked into the net by Quick and his teammate Colin Fraser. The goal came with 11:04 remaining in the third period as the Sharks were able to create chaos around the Kings net for one of the few times in the final period.
Second Straight Tough Start- The Sharks trailed 2-0 early in the second period after Drew Doughty scored a power play goal just over four minutes into the period. The Kings first goal also came early as Carter drilled a slap shot that easily beat Niemi to his right just barely three minutes into the contest. The Sharks once again found themselves playing from behind and would need to solve Kings’ goalie Quick if they were going to have any chance in this game. In the opening period, the Sharks outshot the Kings 11-4, however went 0 for 2 on the power play. This would prove to be critical as the game wore on. On the evening, the Sharks power play would go 0 for 5, and has not scored on eight opportunities in the first two games of the series.
Quick Solved, But Not Enough- The Sharks would score twice in the second period as Patrick Marleau broke the team teal drought with 10:13 remaining in the second period. The Sharks first goal of the series at 89:47 of total playing time. Fortunately team teal did not have to wait nearly as long for the second goal as Stuart drilled a slap shot that cleanly beat Quick to tie the game with 5:39 remaining in the second period. Quick however still made 28 saves for the evening including a highlight reel save on Brent Burns in the second period. Joe Thornton, TJ Galiardi, Scott Gomez and Logan Couture also had some good opportunities taken away by Quick as well. The Sharks frustrations also were highlighted as with just over seven minutes remaining Joe Pavelski missed an open net with Quick having fallen out of position. Pavelski’s back handed attempt failed as the puck sailed on him when he tried a wrist shot which missed the net by inches.
Game 3-A Must Win- With the Sharks collapse in the final moments of Game 2, team teal clearly has their work cut out for them going forward if they have any designs of winning the series. The Sharks head back to San Jose and will host the Kings in Games 3 and 4 at the Shark Tank. The Sharks will need to win Game 3 to stay in the series creating an obvious must win situation. Being 0-2 and coming back to win a series has certainly been done before and in most cases it starts with the trailing team winning Game 3 at home. If the Sharks can get Game 3, and then hold serve in Game 4 this could still be a series. However being down two games to the Los Angeles Kings is one helluva hole to be in, especially having been just 2:41 from tying the series. The win for the Kings Thursday is a big swing in the series for certain. If the Sharks can get the next pair of games it will certainly be to their credit. They will have no choice if they plan on getting past this round.
Raffi Torres Suspended- The NHL early Thursday announced that Raffi Torres has been suspended for at least the rest of the playoff series versus the Los Angeles Kings. Torres was suspended for his hit on the Kings Jarred Stoll in Game One. Torres history and his hit on the Chicago Blackhawks Marian Hossa in last seasons’ playoffs while a member of the Phoenix Coyotes has him on a short least with both Brendan Shanahan, the league’s Director of Player Safety and Commissioner Gary Bettman. It is not known if Torres suspension will be upheld through the rest of the post season or into the 2013-14 season starting in October.
Shark Bytes- The Three Stars of the Game: 3) Scott Gomez (Sharks); 2) Trevor Lewis (Kings); 1) Drew Doughty (Kings). Each team had 31 shots on goal. Niemi made 27 saves and had a decent third period until all hell broke lose at the end. There have been playoff loses like this in Sharks history, but very few as painful. If the Kings go into win this series, this game will certainly be marked as the turning point based on the two game swing (from 1-1 to 0-2). Coming home, the Sharks have only two choices now. 1) Make History; or 2) Be History …
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