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Quick shines, Niemi chased in Game 5
Series heads back to LA after 3-1 Kings win
4/23/11 - By Mike Lee -

Game 5 of the Western Conference Quarter Final match-up between the Sharks and Kings came down to good goaltending and bad goaltending. San Jose netminder Antti Niemi couldn't buy a stop and his adversary Jonathan Quick, turned aside 51 shots to help the Kings win 3-1 and survive to play a Game 6 on Monday night. Niemi surrendered 3 goals on 4 shots in the opening 9 minutes of play, to seal the Sharks fate. There would be no comeback for San Jose, who failed to close out the series.

Quick delivered the performance the Kings needed to keep their season alive, bouncing back from surrendering 6 goals in back-to-back games. San Jose came out firing from the opening faceoff, but Quick weathered the storm, stopping all 19 shots he faced in the 1st period.

The question wasn't if Quick would keep the Sharks off the board, but how many goals he would surrender. Those opening 20 minutes looked as if it was going to be a blood bath. San Jose had sustained inside the Los Angeles blueline for most of the period, but when they didn't the Kings were cashing in.

Niemi was his own worst enemy on the Kings first goal, which came 3:36 into the game. The Sharks netminder tried to clear the puck with a long pass to the right wing boards, but the Kings intercepted the pass, kicked it across the ice, then sent a shot in on net. Rob Scuderi's shot from the point hit Kyle Clifford outside the left post, pin-balling back to the slot where it deflected off Wayne Simmonds back toward the Sharks net. Niemi covered the post to cut off Scuderi's shot, so his positioning was perfect for the series of ricochets.

Clifford added his 3rd goal of the series less than 4 minutes later after Dan Boyle pinched in the Kings zone and lost the puck, creating a 2-on-1 break for the Kings. Simmonds took a lead pass from Brad Richardson and raced up the left wing. His shot was stopped by Niemi, but Clifford was there to punch the rebound home.

Those two goals were scored on the Kings first two shots of the game. The Kings wouldn't muster much more in terms of pucks on net, but when they did, Niemi couldn't stop them.

Dustin Penner finally made an appearance in the series scoring his 1st goal of the playoffs at 8:42 after Niclas Wallin coughed the puck up in his own zone. Kevin Westgarth intercepted Wallin's poor clearing attempt near the right dot, then dropped a pass to Penner in the high slot. Penner's 40-foot shot wasn't screened, but Niemi couldn't get his glove hand over to the right side of the net in time, and just like that the Sharks trailed 3-0.

That would be it for the Niemi, who was pulled for the 2nd time in the series. Antero Niittymaki stepped in and stopped all 18 shots he would face.

Los Angeles put 6 shots on goal in the period, but the damage was done.

The sellout HP Pavilion crowd kept the faith, expecting to see another come from behind win. San Jose gave it a shot, but Quick was up to the task.

Logan Couture was the poster boy for snake-bit Shark of the night. The rookie forward hit the post on a shot from 8 feet out 3:30 into the 2nd period. He would also miss on a scoring chance right in front of Quick in the 3rd period after the Sharks forced a turnover in the Kings zone. The Kings goaltender would stone Couture on that latter scoring chance, inching out to the top of the crease before gloving a point blank shot.

Kings forward Michal Handzus followed up Couture's post shot with a scoring chance of his own that rang of the iron 2 minutes later.

The Sharks would tease their fans with a goal 5:32 into the 2nd period. Joe Thornton intercepted a puck deep in the Kings zone, then dropped it to Wallin after skating out from behind the Los Angeles net. Walling fired a shot from the left corner that Quick stopped, but Patrick Marleau ws there to stab at the rebound, poking it home for the Sharks lone tally.

Once again, the Sharks out-shot the Kings in the period, but they could only generate the lone goal.

Niittymaki made what may have been the save of the series at 1:19 of the 3rd period. After falling to his side to defend a scoring chance in front of the net, the Sharks goaltender threw both hands up in the air as Drew Doughty snapped a shot from the right dot. Niittymaki snared Doughty's shot to keep the Kings to within 2 goals.

San Jose would come close to scoring, but Quick was Johnny-on-the-spot time and time again.

Matt Greene obliged the Sharks comeback aspirations by taking a pair of cross checking penalties in the period, but the Sharks power play went cold. San Jose finished 0-for-4 with the man advantage.

Ryane Clowe negated most of Greene's second penalty by taking a foolish cross-checking penalty of his own right in front of referee Tim Peel with 5:03 to play. The infraction would seal San Jose's fate.

Quick's biggest save came with 2:41 left in the contest, waving his glove to deny Marleau with save off another shot inside 10 feet.



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Scoring
1 2 3 T
LA 3 0 0 3
SJ 0 1 0 1
1st period - 1, LA, Simmonds 1 (Clifford, Scuderi), 3:36. 2, LA, Clifford 4 (Simmonds, Richardson), 7:14. 3, LA, Penner 1 (Westgarth), 8:42.
2nd period - 4, SJ, Marleau 2 (Wallin, Thornton), 5:43.
3rd period - None.
Penalties
1st period - Brown, LA (interference), 9:42.
2nd period - Westgarth, LA (hooking), 15:46.
3rd period - Greene, LA (high sticking), 10:09; Greene, LA (cross checking), 13:23; Clowe, SJ (cross checking), 15:03.
Goaltending
Shots Saves
LA - Quick 52 51
SJ - Niemi 4 1
SJ - Niittymaki 18 18
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
LA 6 12 4 22
SJ 19 15 18 52
Power Play Conversion
LA 0 of 1
SJ 0 of 4
3 Stars of the Game
Jonathan Quick
Wayne Simmonds
Jarret Stoll
Attendence
17,562
Officials
Referees: Peel, Joannette. Linesmen: Sharrers, Wheler.
Holiday Gifts at BustedTees

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