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Sharks not good enough in series opener
Jonathan Quick makes the easiest 35 saves of his career
5/14/13 - By Mike Lee -

The Sharks kicked off their Western Conference Semi-Final series with the Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday night with a resounding thud. After starting the game like a bat out of hell, San Jose fizzled over the last 40 minutes of play and succumbed 2-0 to a Los Angeles Kings team that took advantage of opportunities and muzzled the Sharks in the best-of-seven series. Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick made 35 saves for his 2nd shutout of the playoffs.

Quick's performance appears better on paper, given the shot total put up by the Sharks, but the Kings goaltender could have equaled his save total by laying his pads out in the crease. The Sharks did little to challenge Quick after Slava Voynov converted for Los Angeles with 12.9 seconds left in the opening period.

San Jose used their lengthy rest period to energize and work out a game plan that called for ruthless pressure on Quick. The problem is, they couldn't score after their initial bum rush, and seemed to throw in the towel after Voynov launched a shot that tucked under the cross bar right before the 1st intermission.

Voynov's goal seemed to deflate the Sharks, who had worked their tails off in that opening 20 minutes. Either that, or the Sharks had gassed themselves in that high energy 1st period.

The one glaring hole in that opening 20 minutes was the Sharks inability to take advantage of a Jake Muzzin interference penalty. San Jose only generated three shots on goal during the Muzzin penalty, but the Sharks insistence on trying to beat Quick with long shots from the point proved fruitless.

The Sharks went into hibernation in the 2nd period, letting the Kings dictate the pace of play, and inevitably the game. Anze Kopitar was sent off for hooking Brent Burns at 9:09 of the period setting up an opportunity for San Jose to tie the game on the man-advantage, but the Sharks couldn't get the puck in the zone for the first minute. They wouldn't generate a shot on the power play until all but 2 seconds remained, and that was a 45 foot shot off the stick of Raffi Torres that Quick had little problem stopping.

Voynov would add insult to injury two minutes later by throwing a puck on net that Mike Richards deflected past Antti Niemi for a 2-0 Kings lead. Voynov held the puck on the right point as Richards coasted through the slot, then uncorked a shot that clipped his teammate and slipped past Niemi to the stick side.

Torres earned a charging penalty induced largely by his reputation after he leveled Jarrett Stoll with an open ice hit with 58 seconds left in the period. The Kings did not convert on their lone power play of the evening, but it didn't prove as costly as the Sharks failed attempts on the man advantage.

Richards setup a golden opportunity for the Sharks to get back into the game early in the 3rd period by drawing another hooking penalty. San Jose squandered the opportunity with the same recipe of puck movement along the blueline that simply setup clearing chances for the Kings.

The Sharks put 16 shots on net in that final period, but nothing ever challenged Quick. The closest San Jose came to scoring was off a limp-wristed backhand chance by Patrick Marleau from 10 feet out. Niemi didn't play poorly, but big stops are what you need to overcome the deficiencies of a lackluster offense.

Game Notes:

The Kings opened a playoff series at home for the first time since 1992. Los Angeles had played 16 straight series without home-ice advantage. The sharks were forced to play rookie Bracken Kearns, because Martin Havlat and Adam Burish are still mending injuries.



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Scoring
1 2 3 T
SJ 0 0 0 0
LA 1 1 0 2
1st period - 1, LA, Voynov 3 (Richards), 19:47.
2nd period - 2, LA, Richards 1 (Voynov, Scuderi), 12:30.
3rd period - None.
Penalties
1st period - Muzzin, LA (interference), 5:23.
2nd period - Kopitar, LA (hooking), 9:09; Torres, SJ (charging), 19:02.
3rd period - Richards, LA (hooking), 2:54.
Goaltending
Shots Saves
SJ - Niemi 16 14
LA - Quick 19 19
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
SJ 8 11 16 35
LA 8 8 4 20
Power Play Conversion
SJ 0 of 3
LA 0 of 1
3 Stars of the Game
Jonathan Quick
Slava Voynov
Mike Richards
Attendence
18,118
Officials
Referees: Walkom, Furlatt. Linesmen: Cameron, Sharrers
Holiday Gifts at BustedTees

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