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Sharks dominate, then hold on
Series tied after 2-1 SJ win
5/21/13 - By Mike Lee -

The Sharks did what needed to be done on Tuesday night. They dominated the opening 20 minutes, jumped out to a two goal lead, then held on for a 2-1 win, knocking off the Los Angeles Kings 2-1 in Game 4 of their Western Conference Semi-Finals at HP Pavilion. In doing so, they've seized the momentum in the best-of-seven series, which heads back to Southern California on Thursday. Brent Burns and Logan Couture scored for San Jose and Antti Niemi made 22 saves for his 6th win of the playoffs.

San Jose played what may have been their best 20 minutes of hockey during the playoffs. The Sharks were relentless on the forecheck and had the Kings on their heels for most of the period. Joe Thornton played out of his mind, weaving through traffic, stripping the puck and making super-human passes in a wild opening period that saw the Sharks out-shoot the Kings 15-3.

Thornton masterfully created the game's first goal 6:09 into the contest by picking Slava Voynov's pocket behind the Kings net, then sliding a pass to Burns who was slashing to the net. Burns uncorked a shot from 8 feet out, but the puck was deflected back to the end boards where Thornton scooped it up and sent a diagonal pass through a pair of skates to Burns who had now floated to the left side of the slot. Burns didn't miss with his follow up shot, sweeping the puck into a wide open net for the 1-0 Sharks lead.

The pressure didn't subside and the Kings ended up taking a pair of penalties before the 1st intermission. San Jose continued to out-chance Los Angeles by winning face-offs and hanging on to the puck. Niemi looked downright bored in the period, facing a paltry trio of shots.

Tommy Wingels just missed pushing the Sharks lead to a pair of goals with 2:40 to play in the period after Drew Doughty was sent off for slashing. Wingels shot beat Quick over the Kings goaltender's left shoulder, but the puck hit the cross bar, then dropping to the crease before being swept away by the Kings penalty killers.

The Kings went the last 10 minutes of period and first 3 minutes of the 2nd before recording a shot on goal.

After finally get a puck to Niemi, the Kings tried to make a push, but Colin Fraser took an ill-timed roughing penalty to put the Sharks on the power play. San Jose made good use of the man-advantage.

With the special teams setup in the Kings zone, Dan Boyle sent a blast on net from the blueline that Couture deflected for his 5th goal of the playoffs. Both Couture and Patrick Marleau were parked in the slot, doubling the obstruction to Quick's visibility, but it was the younger of the pair to get the shaft of his stick on Boyle's shot.

San Jose received a huge break 6 minutes into the period when a Tyler Toffoli shot slipped through Niemi's pads, but referee Brad Meier blew the play dead as the puck was trickling toward the goal line. Dustin Penner poked the puck over the line, but Meier immediately waved off the would-be goal.

Sharks defenseman Scott Hannan took an interference penalty late in the 2nd period, but divine intervention prevented allowed the Sharks to retain their two-goal lead. Kings rookie Jake Muzzin had a scoring chance on the power play from point blank range, but his shot sailed over the crossbar after Joe Pavelski appeared to get his stick in front of Muzzin's shot. It was the second penalty kill of the evening for the sharks, and in both cases the Sharks prevented the Kings from registering a single shot on goal.

Burns destroyed Kings winger Brad Richardson with an open-ice hip check as the Kings tried to counter on a penalty kill after defenseman Matt Greene was sent off for high sticking Couture 5 minutes into the 3rd period. Burns used his posterior to stop Richardson in his tracks right after crossing the Sharks blueline.

Burns took his own penalty three minutes later after boarding Anze Kopitar along the side boards in the Sharks zone.

Richards converted on the power play, jamming a puck past Niemi from outside the right post after the Sharks goaltender was stretched out in his crease to try and stop the scoring chance.

From that point on it was nail biting time. The Kings stepped up the pressure on Niemi, throwing 14 shots at him in the period. They were forced to pull Quick with a minute to play, but it wasn't enough as the Sharks held on to tie the series and force a 6th game.



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Scoring
1 2 3 T
LA 0 0 1 1
SJ 1 1 0 2
1st period - 1, SJ, Burns 2 (Thornton, Galiardi), 6:09.
2nd period - 2, SJ, Couture 5 (Boyle, Pavelski), 3:55, (pp).
3rd period - 3, LA, Richards 2 (Carter, Kopitar), 9:46, (pp).
Penalties
1st period - Fraser, LA (holding), 13:19; Doughty, LA (slashing), 15:26.
2nd period - Fraser, LA (roughing), 3:14; Galiardi, SJ (interference), 8:33; Hannan, SJ (interference), 16:58.
3rd period - Greene, LA (high sticking), 5:18; Burns, SJ (boarding), 8:14.
Goaltending
Shots Saves
LA - Quick 23 21
SJ - Niemi 23 22
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
LA 3 6 14 23
SJ 15 6 2 23
Power Play Conversion
LA 1 of 3
SJ 1 of 4
3 Stars of the Game
Joe Thornton
Antti Niemi
Jonathan Quick
Attendence
17,562
Officials
Referees: Meier, Rooney. Linesmen: Amell, Driscoll.
Holiday Gifts at BustedTees

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