Sharks take 3-1 series lead over Kings
Ryane Clowe scored two goals, Jason Demers added another in the second period and the San Jose Sharks beat the Los Angeles Kings 6-3 on Thursday night to take a 3-1 lead in the first-round series.
Joe Thornton and Joe Pavelski scored in a 54-second span early in the third and Torrey Mitchell followed with his first goal of the playoffs to extend the Sharks’ lead.
They return to San Jose for Game 5 on Saturday night having swept the Kings on their home ice.
The Kings had a 5-on-3 for much of the final 3 minutes after Dany Heatley was penalized for cross-checking and Scott Nichol got a 10-minute misconduct, but they failed to convert. The frustrated Kings got two 10-minute misconducts themselves in the closing seconds.
The teams combined for five goals in the second – two fewer than they scored in the middle period in Game 3, when the Kings blew a four-goal lead to lose 6-5 in their second overtime defeat of the series.
Antti Niemi made 35 saves while back in goal for the Sharks after being pulled for giving up four consecutive goals to the Kings before their collapse Tuesday.
Jonathan Quick was solid in the first period for Los Angeles, but soon fell apart in losing his second straight. He stopped 21 shots.
The Sharks stunned Quick with two quick goals to open the third. Thornton was waiting in front of the net and scored on Patrick Marleau’s pass at 2:28, then blew kisses to the crowd in celebration of his first goal of the series.
San Jose went up 5-2 on Pavelski’s slap shot from the blue line at 3:22 that made it 5-2. The Sharks scored their sixth goal when Mitchell got a rebound with 8:18 to go.
Los Angeles cut it to 6-3 when Alexei Ponikarovsky’s shot from the left point found the top of the net with 6:49 left.
The Kings haven’t won a playoff series since beating Detroit in the 2001 Western Conference quarterfinals. They are 1-9 in series when they fall behind 3-1.
This time, San Jose built a 3-0 lead in the second only to have the Kings close to 3-2 by the end of the period, when they outshot the Sharks 17-10.
Clowe and Demers scored 1:14 apart before Clowe added his second goal.
Clowe’s first goal capped a 2-on-1 when he scored behind Quick’s back at 3:58. Demers made it 2-0 when he beat a fully sprawled Quick on the left side at 5:12. Both goals came with the teams skating 4-on-4 with Nichol and Kings star defenseman Drew Doughty off for roughing.
With Matt Greene serving a double-minor for high-sticking, Clowe scored on the power play at 9:28. Quick swiped his left hand at the puck too late and the Sharks led 3-0.
The Kings rallied with two goals later in the second. Ryan Smyth’s slap shot sailed wide right and Brad Richardson came around the net to push the puck with 9 minutes left. With Marc-Edouard Vlasic skating in unison with him, Smyth took a pass that went off Vlasic’s stick and into the net with 3:56 left.
Both teams were 0 for 2 on the power play in the first period.
With Dustin Brown and Greene sent off for back-to-back slashing penalties, San Jose had a two-man advantage for 1:22. The Sharks peppered Quick with seven shots, but he turned them all away.
The Kings then got a two-man advantage for 11 seconds after Dan Boyle and Ian White were penalized for hooking, but they failed to capitalize in the scoreless first, when the Sharks outshot Los Angeles 13-9.
NOTES: The Kings’ Ryan Smyth has a point in all four games of the series. … San Jose’s Logan Couture, Kyle Wellwood and Ian White each had two assists. … The announced crowd of 18,234 was the second straight standing-room only sellout. … Kings coach Terry Murray is one away from his 50th career playoff victory.