The San Jose Sharks defeated the Los Angeles Kings 6-3 to take a 3-1 lead in their best of seven series in the first round of the 2011 NHL Playoffs.
In a scoreless first period, the standouts for the Kings were goalie Jonathan Quick, who made a number of great saves, and the line of Kyle Clifford, Brad Richardson and Wayne Simmonds.
The game’s first goal would come off an L.A. stick but also go in the L.A. net as Ryan Clowe got the credit for a goal that deflected in off the stick of Kings defenseman Alec Martinez.
Less than two minutes later, Jason Demers would make it 2-0, San Jose.
A little more than four minutes after, Clowe would actually score to extend the Sharks’ lead, this time on the power play.
92 seconds passed before the Kings finally got on the board with a goal from Richardson, whom TSN called L.A.’s “best forward this series,” if I heard right (apologies to TSN if I did not) — but they definitely did praise him.
A turning of the tables would pull the Kings within one as a goal credited to Justin Williams actually went in off of Marc-Edouard Vlasic’s stick. (Initially, the goal went to Ryan Smyth.)
Towards the end of the second period, the Kings really picked it up, started playing harder, shifted the momentum in their favor, and it all culminated in Williams’ goal.
However, they could not sustain the momentum through intermission and keep it going in the third.
The Kings defense completely disappeared at the start of the period, leaving Quick out to dry, which led to two San Jose goals in the opening 3:22 of the third.
The first was by Joe Thornton, who blew two kisses to the Staples Center crowd after his goal. The second was scored by Joe Pavelski.
Later in third, Torrey Mitchell would make it 6-2.
More than a minute later, Alexei Ponikarovsky scored, but it was too little, too late for L.A.
Like Williams’, Ponikarovsky’s goal also underwent a scoring change as it was originally credited to Jack Johnson.
It should be pointed out that, all things considered, Quick did not play badly. The onus for this loss rests squarely on his teammates’ shoulders — particularly the “defenders”.
If the Sharks win the next game, they win the series and the Kings are officially out of it.
That next game comes Saturday at 7:30 p.m. PDT in San Jose.
Oh, and case anyone is wondering, no there will not be a “star of the night” post for this game. Forget what I said about doing it win or lose; the thought of writing one for this game makes me want to laugh like a crazy person.