Joe Pavelski’s second goal of the night proved to be the difference in a see-saw Game One.
Now that’s how you start a playoff series.
With things knotted up at three heading into the third period, Joe Pavelski’s second goal of the night just 17 seconds into the final frame gave the Sharks the lead for good as they would hang on for a 4-3 victory in Game One at Staples Center.
It didn’t start out too well for team teal in this one as they fell behind early as San Jose had trouble moving the puck out of their own zone. Jake Muzzin would take a feed from Milan Lucic in the slot and skate around a diving Brent Burns and lunging Martin Jones to bank one in off Tomas Hertl to give the Kings a 1-0 advantage at the 2:53 mark of the first.
Los Angeles would control the play until an Anze Kopitar interference penalty set the Sharks up with their first power play opportunity of the series. San Jose wouldn’t take long to convert as Pavelski one-timed home his 27th career playoff goal to even things back at one just 6:25 into the game.
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The goal seemed to settle the Sharks down as they would control a majority of the period, outshooting the Kings by an 8-5 margin.
Things began to really ramp up in the second period as each team would respond immediately to goals from the other.
First, it was Burns with a blast from the blue line following a clean faceoff win from Joel Ward as San Jose took their first lead of the series.
However, the lead would be short-lived as a very questionable interference call off the ensuing faceoff on Ward allowed L.A. to head to the man advantage. Jeff Carter would be the beneficiary of a fortunate bounce off a diving Burns’ stick that would deflect in off Jones just 40 seconds after Burns had given the Sharks the lead.
San Jose would keep coming at the Kings though and were on the wrong end of another blown call. On a delayed penalty call, team teal was able to get the extra attacker on. A shot from the point made its way to Hertl who’s initial chance was saved by Jonathan Quick but he appeared to score on the rebound.
However, the goal was waived off as the referee deemed the puck was knocked down with a high stick. Upon further review, it was clear this was a phantom call as the Sharks wrongfully had one taken off the board.
San Jose would get another power play chance later in the middle frame, but after an extended shift in the offensive zone, Trevor Lewis skated in shorthanded on a 2-on-1 and made a nice toe drag move past a diving Burns to give L.A. the 3-2 lead.
The goal could have been a deflating one, but this Sharks team showed their resiliency by answering right back. The trio of Ward, Hertl and Joonas Donskoi were able to cause havoc in front before Hertl would eventually slam home the tying goal, this time it counted, to knot things up at three just 30 seconds after Lewis’ tally.
It was a huge goal for team teal as it swung the momentum back in their favor after 40 minutes of play.
That set the stage for Pavelski’s heroics as he won the faceoff following an icing and took a Justin Braun feed behind the net, established body position on Kopitar before whipping one past Quick for his second of the night.
From there, Jones would stand tall between the pipes as the Sharks would survive a late flurry from the Kings in the final minute of the contest, but were unable to find the back of the net.
It was a big victory for San Jose to come in and steal Game One as they exhibited many of the characteristics that made them the best road team in the league. They showed an uncanny ability to bounce back and all four lines and six defensemen were going in this.
Then, when they needed a big goal, Pavelski was there to deliver as he continued his dominant play against the Kings. After amassing four goals and six assists in the five regular season meetings, Pavelski added to his totals with the two goals in this one.
San Jose needs to sharpen up some of their breakouts and play through the neutral zone, but they showcased their speed for most of this one which seemed to affect L.A.
The Sharks will look to get greedy now and take Game Two on Saturday night to see if they can head back to the Bay Area with a 2-0 series lead.