Kings pushed to brink of elimination after Game 3 loss to Sharks

Only three teams in NHL history have rallied from an 0-3 deficit to win a playoff series.

Mark J. Terrill

LOS ANGELES — It didn’€™t matter how many chances the Kings had in overtime. All the Sharks needed was one.

Patrick Marleau’€™s shot took a bad bounce off Kings defenseman Slava Voynov’€™s stick and goaltender Jonathan Quick had no chance to save it. San Jose won 4-3 in overtime on Tuesday night at the Staples Center, leaving the Kings in an 0-3 hole in the first round of their playoff series.

No Kings team has ever come back from 0-3 to win the series.

"We’re not going to go away quietly," said head coach Darryl Sutter.

This was the kind of game that the Kings wanted to play.

Back at home in front of a sellout Staples Center crowd, they played their tough, gritty defensive style of play throughout most of the game. They received two power play goals — a considerable feat for a team that has had some of the worst power play numbers in the league all season.

They held off a furious rally and killed off what could have been a dangerous penalty in the final two minutes of the game then dominated the puck possession in the overtime period.

But all it took was one fluky deflection.

"Sometimes it works that way," said Kings captain Dustin Brown. "It’s irrelevant now."

It was the Kings’ 41st playoff game in the past three seasons — the most in the NHL — and they got there on the backs of the stars.

Jarret Stoll tied the game at 1-all nearly five minutes into the second period, scoring his first playoff goal since the Stanley Cup run in 2012 and the Kings finally took a lead — something they had done only once in the series coming into game 3 — when Marian Gaborik netted one a few minutes later.

After lamenting the amount of odd-man rushes they were giving up throughout the first two games, the Kings finally came out on the right end of one. Gaborik took the puck down from the Los Angeles zone all the way down in front of the crease, daring Antti Niemi to put a stick on it, before slicing a backhand over the San Jose goaltender’s shoulder.

Long Beach product Matt Nieto scored to tie it back up at 2-2, but in the third, Jeff Carter tipped in Anze Kopitar’s power play shot, giving the Kings a 3-2 lead.

Carter now has a point in each of the three postseason games and Kopitar, the target of the Sharks’ most vicious hits, has assists in all three.

"I think our better players were better," Sutter said. "That was for sure and it was noticeable. I think we can push that through our lineup because those are the guys that are going to pull us."

But they failed to pull them in overtime.

"They really took it to us in overtime," said Sharks forward Logan Couture. "Then we got a lucky bounce. And that’s the way things go sometimes."

The Kings had five shots on goal, all good looks. The Sharks? Just one.

"It was a better effort and we had some chances," Kopitar said. "But it wasn’t enough."

Following the loss, the mood in the locker room was somewhat grim. Goaltender Jonathan Quick offered little more than saying the team simply needs to "keep working." Mike Richards gave a Crash Davis-like one-game-at-a-time analysis.

Now facing elimination, the Kings must beat some hefty odds: It’s a feat that has only been accomplished in the NHL three times.

"We have to come back in a couple days and throw everything at them," Kopitar said. "Our backs are against the wall and it’s really coming out … Being down 3-nothing, every piece of this puzzle is going to have to give it their all."