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Clutch Game 6 Win
Sharks force a Game 7 with LA after 2-1 win
5/26/13 - By Mike Lee -

With their season on the line, the Sharks used home ice to buckle down and take Game 6 of the Western Conference Semi-Final series with the Los Angeles Kings on Sunday night. San Jose scored a pair of goals then hung on to extend the series to a decisive Game 7 on Tuesday night in Los Angeles. Every game in the series has been won by the home team, which is a trend that the Sharks will need to end in their next meeting with the Kings.

Win or go home won't be anything new for the Sharks. They needed to find a way to get the job done on Sunday, and did so early enough to dictate much of the play. The Sharks scored 6:09 into the game while on a 5-on-3 power play, after Mike Richards was sent off for hooking, and Anze Kopitar followed him with a dreaded delay of game penalty for tossing a puck over the glass 14 seconds later.

Joe Thornton converted on that two-man advantage by snapping a Joe Pavelski feed from outside the right post past Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick for his 2nd goal of the playoffs. The Sharks spent the first 90 seconds of the power play trying to find an opening in the Kings defense, but it took Pavelski forcing the issue with a high risk pass to generate that opportunity.

Pavelski was hovering near the inside of the left circle while eye-balling Thornton on the other side of the slot. Kings defenseman Matt Greene dropped to a knee to try and take away the passing lane, so Pavelski sent the feed through Greene's legs for the one time chance that Thornton buried.

T.J. Galiardi made it a 2-0 game 4:10 into the 2nd period by racing up the right wing and snapping a shot past Quick from the right dot after Scott Hannan pushed a feed to him from the Sharks zone. Galiardi took Pavelski's lead by sending his shot through Robyn Regehr's legs, using them as a screen, to beat Quick. The shot sailed over the Kings goaltender's glove hand for Galiardi's 1st career playoff goal.

Kings winger Justin Williams setup another huge opportunity for the Sharks when he opened up Marc-Edouard Vlasic's lip with a high stick that drew a 4-minute power play for San Jose.

The Sharks misfired on the chance to pile on to their lead, failing to generate any serious scoring chances during the extended man-advantage. The Kings suppressed the double minor by going at the Sharks rather than sit back and hope to defend shots from in tight.

Using the penalty kill as motivation, the Kings cut the Sharks lead in half two minutes after Williams penalty expired. Kings captain Dustin Brown threw a puck to the front of the Sharks goal from behind the end-line near the right corner. Sharks goaltender Antti Niemi tried to cutoff the puck by sliding to his left, but the puck hit him on the side of his left leg pad and bouncing into the goal.

Los Angeles smalled blood after Brown's goal and tried to turn up the heat on Niemi, but the Sharks weathered the storm to close out the period.

Rather than sit back and try to hold on to their slim lead, the Sharks opened the 3rd period with an extra jump in their step. San Jose pushed the play in the Kings zone in an attempt to keep the puck away from their own net.

James Sheppard worked a scoring chance by racing around the right side early in the period, but Quick denied him. Patrkc Marleau had the best scoring chance of the period when he took a centering feed at center ice before beating Jake Muzzin on a breakaway chance that Quick snuffed out after the Sharks centerman crashed in on the Kings crease.

The Kings were forced to pull Quick with 1:36 left in regulation after failing to get any of their 9 shots in the period past Niemi. The Sharks calmly turned aside the Kings late rush. The Sharks intercepted a pass in their own zone and worked the puck up ice where Thornton deferred on a shot on the open net from center ice, and instead worked the puck to Brent Burns.

Burns didn't have an angle on the goal so he elected to wind the puck around the end boards. Once the Kings got the puck out of their own end, Burns stepped up again, winning control and dumping it back into the Kings end to kill off the remaining 15 seconds on the clock.

With the series all knotted up at 3 games apiece, the deciding contest will be played on Tuesday at 6:00pm

Game Notes:

Sharks defenseman Justin Braun was injured in the 2nd period when he jumped onto the ice and immediately aggrevated something in his left leg. He went down to his knees and had to be helped off the ice. He returned in the 3rd period, playing a total of 13:51 in the contest.



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Scoring
1 2 3 T
LA 0 1 0 1
SJ 1 1 0 2
1st period - 1, SJ, Thornton 2 (Pavelski, Boyle), 6:09, (pp).
2nd period - 2, SJ, Galiardi 1 (Hannan, Niemi), 4:10. 3, LA, Brown 3 (Greene, King), 13:53.
3rd period - None.
Penalties
1st period - Clifford, LA (charging), 1:14; Richards, LA (hooking), 4:44; Kopitar, LA (delay of game - puck over glass), 4:58; Boyle, SJ (high sticking), 8:44; Gomez, SJ (hooking), 13:12.
2nd period - Williams, LA (high sticking - double minor), 7:28.
3rd period - None.
Goaltending
Shots Saves
LA - Quick 26 24
SJ - Niemi 25 24
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
LA 9 8 8 25
SJ 8 9 9 26
Power Play Conversion
LA 0 of 2
SJ 1 of 5
3 Stars of the Game
Joe Thornton
Dan Boyle
TJ Galiardi
Attendence
17,562
Officials
Referees: O'Rourke, Pollock. Linesmen: Amell, Driscoll.
Holiday Gifts at BustedTees

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