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Pushed to the brink after falling flat
Quick shuts-out Sharks for Game 5 win
5/23/13 - By Mike Lee -

Spring rings eternal, as well as some traditions of the season. If it's Spring, you can count on gardens blooming, graduations, and the Sharks playing for their lives in a playoff elimination game. After dropping Game 5 in dismal fashion on Thursday night, San Jose limps home with its season on the line, down 3-games-to-2 in their best of 7 game series with the Los Angeles Kings. San Jose failed to score at Staples Center for the second time in the series en route to a 3-0 loss to Los Angeles, and now find themselves in the precarious position of having to win the next two games or say goodbye to the season.

Jonathan Quick made 24 saves, but was unchallenged for most of the evening as San Jose failed to generate much pressure in front of the Kings net. The Sharks also failed to match the Kings intensity and eventually succumbed to the key chances that Los Angeles capitalized on.

The most glaring hole in San Jose's game was a lack of jump to start the game. The lack of any momentum carried itself throughout the game. Once Los Angeles got a puck past Antti Niemi, things just seemed to snowball.

The Sharks went 0-for-3 on the power play, which extended their impotence with the man-advantage at Staples Center to zero goals in 10 chances in the three road playoff games.

That lack of effectiveness on the power play set the tone as San Jose had the first two chances with the man-advantage. Not only did San Jose misfire with those prime chances, but they generated a paltry two shots on goal, which included none on their second chance following a charging call on Kyle Clifford.

The Kings tried to get to San Jose by wearing them down with a relentless flurry of hits. Los Angeles laid 51 hits on Sharks skaters, with almost half of those coming in the opening 20 minutes.

That strategy proved effective, as the Sharks were unable to get the puck close to Quick. They kept up the pressure in the 2nd period and simply wore down San Jose. They simply waited for their chances to materialize and pounced.

With time ticking down in the 2nd period, Clifford just missed on a war-around chance that looked like a sure goal after the winger got the puck to the left post.

The Kings smelled blood and pressed the matter with the puck in front of the Sharks net. Winger Justin Williams fired a puck at Niemi after the Sharks goaltender dropped his stick. Niemi made the initial save, but the puck trickled to his right where Anze Kopitar was lurking for the easy tap in goal at with 1:52 remaining in the period.

Rather than close out the period and regroup, the Sharks backed themselves into a corner when TJ Galiardi applied an incredibly stupid cross check on Quick to draw a goaltender interference penalty less than a minute after Kopitar's goal to let the Kings close out the period on the power play.

San Jose made it to the 2nd intermission unscathed by Galiardi's transgression, but the penalty would prove costly as the Kings forced a faceoff in the Sharks zone with two ticks left on the infraction. Trevor Lewis beat Joe Thornton on the draw and Slava Voynov sent a blast in on net from the right point that beat Niemi right after the penalty expired. The Sharks essentially had four defenders on the ice, because Galiardi was still trying to get out of the box and get into the play. He was too late.

Lewis rang a shot off the post 6 minutes later, but the Kings stayed within striking distance.

Kopitar made things interesting by tripping Thornton to setup the Sharks third power play of the game. San Jose's power play unit looked disjointed, giving up more scoring chances than they generated with the man-advantage.

One of those scoring chances ended up with Kings captain Dustin Brown taking out Niemi as he raced in on net. Referee Dan O'Halloran was right in front of the play, but elected not to add any more controversy to the series by setting up another key 5-on-3 situation, so no penalty was called. Sharks head coach Todd McLellan was livid on the Sharks bench, giving an earful to O'Halloran at the next stoppage.

Referee interpreted McLellan's message as a need for more whistles, so he obliged by sending Sharks forward James Sheppard off with a questionable roughing call with 6 minutes remaining in regulation.

San Jose killed off the penalty, but it only left them with four minutes to try and scratch their way back into the game. The first two minutes of that block went fruitless, so McLellan pulled Niemi for the final two.

The Sharks reaffirmed the fact that the extra skater was meaningless, as they generated nothing that challenged Quick. A turnover at their own blueline landed on Mike Richards stick, which was followed by a lead pass to Jeff Carter for an empty net tally that capped the game's scoring.

Game Notes:

Jason Demers made his playoff debut, returning from a broken injury hand that sidelined him for the first 8 games of the playoffs. Demers skated on 9 shifts, splitting time on an offensive line with Bracken Kearns and Andrew Desjardins, and on defense.


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1 2 3 T
SJ 0 0 0 0
LA 0 1 2 3
1st period - None.
2nd period - 1, LA, Kopitar 2 (Clifford, Scuderi), 18:08.
3rd period - 2, LA, Voynov 4 (Lewis), 0:53. 3, LA, Carter 5 (Richards), 19:28, (en).
1st period - Carter, LA (boarding), 5:28.
2nd period - Clifford, LA (charging), 11:19; Demers, SJ (boarding), 13:24; Galiardi, SJ (oaltender interference), 18:50.
3rd period - Kopitar, LA (tripping), 10:26; Sheppard, SJ (roughing), 13:36.
Shots Saves
SJ - Niemi 28 26
SJ - empty net 1 0
LA - Quick 24 24
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
SJ 6 5 13 24
LA 9 9 11 29
Power Play Conversion
SJ 0 of 3
LA 0 of 3
3 Stars of the Game
Jonathan Quick
Anze Kopitar
Drew Doughty
Referees: O'Halloran, Lee. Linesmen: Heyer, Kovachik.
Holiday Gifts at BustedTees


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