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Kings cash in on officials gifts
LA stuns Sharks with two late goals
5/16/13 - By Mike Lee -

There are losses, and there are losses that you'll remember for the rest of your life. Game 2 of the Sharks Western Conference Semi-Finals will go down as one of the latter, after the San Jose surrendered two goals to the Los Angeles Kings in the last two minutes of regulation in a crushing 4-3 defeat. The Sharks outplayed the Kings most of the evening, but fell victim to fate as the Kings took advantage of the charity of referees Tom Kowal and Brad Watson in the games waning moments.

Kowal and Watson were the one ice officials who awarded the King a pair of suspect penalties that would setup a 5-on-3 power play that Los Angeles used to leap-frog the Sharks. Three sharks were sent off in the 3rd period after Marc-Edouard Vlasic had given the Sharks their first lead of the game at 8:56 of the final frame.

James Sheppard was sent off for roughing after tangling with Brad Richardson in front of Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick. What should have been off-setting penalties turned out to be a Kings power play. The penalty was bewildering, because Sharks defenseman Brent Burns was mauled by a trio of Kings moments earlier.

San Jose killed off Sheppard's penalty, but Kowal and Watson decided to nit-pick late in a one-goal playoff game. Penalties are rarely called late in regular season games, much less in playoff games, but Brad Stuart gave the striped duo all they needed, and sent off the Sharks defenseman for tripping with 2:41 left in the contest.

Vlasic would follow that penalty up by flipping a puck that was touched by a Kings player over the glass. What should have been a whistle for a play stoppage turned into a two-man advantage for the Kings.

Dustin Brown tied the game with a rebound on that two-man advantage at 18:17, then Trevor Lewis deposited a rebound off Antti Niemi 22 seconds later after Tyler Toffoli fired a shot from the right wing that kicked off the Shark's goaltender's right pad.

San Jose had battled back from a 2-0 deficit earlier in the game, but succumbed to the gifts that Kowal and Watson doled out like candy.

The Kings were dominated over the final 35 minutes of the game, which resulted in three Shark goals. Patrick Marleau cut the Kings lead in half midway through the 2nd period, redirecting a Joe Thornton goal from the top of the crease after a penalty to Alec Martinez had expired. The goal was the first for San Jose in the series, but wouldn't be the last.

Brad Stuart pumped a shot past Quick five minutes later. Quick was screened by Tommy Wingels on the play and little chance of stopping the laser shot.

Kings centerman Jeff Carter provided a little inspiration for the Sharks with 4:35 remaining in the period when he sent Vlasic into the boards with a hit that was deemed to be a charge. What should have been called a boarding major, was reduced in scope to a charging minor. As Carter sat in the box, Vlasic was forced to head to the locker room to tend to an injury he sustained on the play.

The inconsistency that is the NHL's disciplinary committee will undoubtedly bury their heads in the sand, even after doling out a series wide suspension to Raffi Torres earlier in the day.

Vlasic missed the rest of the period, but returned to start the 3rd frame. He defined karma later by poking home his first career playoff goal to put the Sharks on top for the first time in the series. Vlasic pinched on a play that saw a puck bouncing around Quick's crease, then swatted the biscuit through a small opening between Quick and the right post for the 3-2 lead.

Los Angeles opened the game with a Carter goal on a blast from the right wing that caught Niemi 3:06 into the game, the Drew Doughty capitalized on one of Los Angeles' 6 power play chances with a goal at 4:10 of the 2nd period.


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1 2 3 T
SJ 0 2 1 3
LA 1 1 2 4
1st period - 1, LA, Carter 4 (unassisted), 3:06.
2nd period - 2, LA, Doughty 2 (Richardson, Penner), 4:10, (pp). 3, SJ, Marleau 5 (Thornton, Couture), 9:47. 4, SJ, Stuart 1 (Gomez, Hannan), 14:21.
3rd period - 5, SJ, Vlasic 1 (Stuart, Gomez), 8:56. 6, LA, Brown 2 (Carter, Richardson), 18:17, (pp). 7, LA, Lewis 1 (Toffoli, Muzzin), 18:39, (pp).
1st period - Nolan, LA (slashing), 11:03; Kennedy, SJ (high sticking), 14:12; Martinez, LA (holding), 17:33.
2nd period - Hannan, SJ (interference), 2:34; Wingels, SJ (high sticking), 6:12; Martinez, LA (hooking), 7:42.
3rd period - Sheppard, SJ (roughing), 10:58; Stuart, SJ (tripping), 17:19l Vlasic, SJ (delay of game - puck over glass), 17:41.
Shots Saves
SJ - Niemi 31 27
LA - Quick 31 28
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
SJ 11 13 7 31
LA 4 9 18 31
Power Play Conversion
SJ 0 of 4
LA 3 of 6
3 Stars of the Game
Drew Doughty
Trevor Lewis
Scott Gomez
Referees: Watson, Kowal. Linesmen: Cameron, Sharrers.
Holiday Gifts at BustedTees

; Kennedy, SJ (high sticking),


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