Despite a lackluster third period, the San Jose Sharks were able to lean on a five-goal lead and hang on to defeat the Los Angeles Kings 6-3 in Game 1 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals to take a 1-0 lead in the series.
The Sharks took a 5-0 lead into the third period, only to see the Kings respond with three goals, making the game way more interesting than it should have been. But after Trevor Lewis deflected in Jeff Carter‘s shot with six minutes to play to make it 5-2, Antti Niemi and the Sharks clamped down and hung on for the win, which was sealed by Brent Burns‘ empty net goal.
It was quite a fun first two periods, however.
The turning point came in the final minute of the first period, when the Sharks, already up 1-0 on a Joe Thornton goal, scored twice and took all the momentum with them into the locker room. Tomas Hertl, playing in his first ever playoff game, exacted some sweet revenge on the Kings, tapping in the puck into the wide open net off pass from James Sheppard on a break. Forty-eight seconds later, on another odd-man rush, Patrick Marleau finished off a feed from Tommy Wingels.
San Jose led 3-0 after one, and scored twice more in the second. Raffi Torres‘ wrister through traffic just seconds after Marc-Edouard Vlasic hit the post found its way past Jonathan Quick. Vlasic would get a goal of his own later in the period, scoring a power play goal at 16:29.
Quick was pulled in favor of backup Martin Jones before third period. They finally got on the board two minutes into the third on a Jake Muzzin goal, and although they lost, they surely built some momentum going into Game 2 on Sunday. The Kings actually wound up outshooting the Sharks in the game, 34-33, thanks to the third period where they dominated with a 16-5 shot advantage.
A series that was hyped to be physical and fierce lived up to the hype in Game 1. A skirmish occurred late in the first period when enforcer Mike Brown shoved Slava Voynov into Quick after Brown drove the net, resulting in mayhem. Twenty penalty minutes were handed out and 120 hits were registered between the two teams.
Tale of the Tape
- Shots on goal: 33
- Power play: 1-for-3
- Hits: 52
- Giveaways: 17
- Takeaways: 11
- Faceoffs won: 33
- Shots on goal: 34
- Power play: 0-for-3
- Hits: 69
- Giveaways: 6
- Takeaways: 3
- Faceoffs won: 35
Good to Know
8th time in Sharks history the team scored 6+ goals in a playoff game, the first time since Game 4 of the 2011 West QF at Kings (won 6-3).
— Darin Stephens (@SharksStats) April 18, 2014
What’s on Tap
Game 2 will be on Sunday night, and if the third period of this game was any indication, the Sharks will be facing a much different Kings team.