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Power play powers Sharks to Game 4 win
Sharks convert on 3 of 4 man advantage chances
4/20/16 - By Mike Lee -

The Sharks Western Conference Series with the Los Angeles Kings was billed as one of the tightest of the playoffs. Each of the first four games has been diced by a single goal, including Wednesday nights 3-2 Sharks win at SAP Center. San Jose scored the first three goals of the game, then held on for a wild victory that gives them a commanding 3-1 series lead in the best-of-seven affair.

After the smoke cleared, the Sharks also had themselves a home victory. It also broke the trend of the visiting team winning as had been the case after the firs three games of the series. The Sharks hope that trend starts again, as the series shifts to Southern California for Game 5 on Friday.

Both teams chipped away at each other in the opening 20 minutes, feeling for a crack in the other team's armor. The ebbs and flow of the game saw momentum shifts back and forth several times in that 1st period. Los Angeles sustained the biggest push midway through the period, but Martin Jones who stopped all 8 shots he faced in the period.

Jones former mentor, Jonathan Quick, made 11 saves for Los Angeles in the period to keep the game scoreless heading to the first intermission.

Wednesday night's big win was attributed to a power play that lit up the Kings. San Jose finished the evening 3-for-4 on the man advantage, due in part to better puck movement, and a willingness to throw the puck at Quick. That wasn't the case on Monday when San Jose went 0-for-5 on the man advantage.

The Sharks wasted little time working over the Kings penalty kill unit after the first break. Jeff Carter put the Kings in a hole after taking a roughing penalty 30 seconds into the 2nd period. Brent Burns made the Kings pay by rifling a one-timer past Quick off a setup pass from Joel Ward.

The Sharks got themselves in penalty trouble when Matt Nieto and Ward took penalties 3 minutes apart. The Kings were on the power play for what seemed like an eternity, but the Sharks were up to the task.

Rob Scuderi was sent off for tripping at 8:42, setting up another San Jose power play goal. Joe Pavelski converted on the ensuing man advantage for his 4th goal of the playoffs. The Sharks captain slid down the slot toward the net as Joe Thornton circled behind the Kings net with the puck. Thornton spotted Pavelski, sliding a pass out to the top of the crease for a chip shot with a Kings defender draped all over him. Quick almost stopped Pavelski's shot, but it flipped off his goalie stick and into the goal.

Trailing by two goals, the Kings didn't do themselves any favors to open the 3rd period. Jamie McBain clipped Joonas Donskoi with a high stick to put the Sharks right back on the power play. San Jose took all of 6 seconds to convert that power play into a goal. Patrick Marleau scored what would turn out to be the game winning goal at 1:40 of the period on a nifty display of hockey skill.

With the puck deflecting out to the left side of the net, Marleau controlled the puck with his skate, pushing it out to his stick as he skated from left to right. Once the puck hit his stick, Marleau flipped a backhand shot that lifted over Quick's right shoulder to catch twine top shelf. The tally was the 61st playoff goal of Marleau's career.

That goal was bigger than anyone expected.

The Kings didn't roll over after falling behind by three goals. Their response was quite the contrary. Los Angeles went into attack mode, potting a pair of goals to cut into the Sharks lead.

Trevor Lewis was credited with his 2nd goal of the series a minute after Marleau scored. Lewis parked himself in front of Jones and deflected a Luke Schenn shot after it hit him in the right skate as he tried leaping to avoid it. Burns was locked up with Lewis, who made contact with Jones, impeding the goaltender. Sharks head coach Peter DeBoer challenged the goal, citing goaltender interference. An officials review disagreed with DeBoer's assertion, so the Sharks lead was cut to 3-1.

Schenn added his 1st goal of the playoffs on another long shot 4 minutes later to set off the red alerts. Schenn used more traffic in front of Jones to slip a blast past the Sharks goaltender, and just like that the Sharks were leading by the thinnest of margins.

San Jose tried to clamp down on the Kings, but the scoring chances weren't totally eradicated.

Los Angeles was forced to pull Quick for the 3rd time in the series, which turned out to be as fruitless as in Games 1 & 2. Jones stood tall, stopping 10 of 12 shots in the period.

Game Notes:

* After the hit-fest that transpired in Game 3, the Sharks and Kings toned things down, laying a mere 81 hits in Game 4. The two teams combined for 100 hits in Game 3.

* Drew Doughty once again eclipsed the 30 minute mark in ice time. The Kings defenseman has logged more than 30 minutes of ice time in ever game in the series.

* After getting man-handled in the face off circle in the first three games, the Sharks finally won the draws battle, taking 51 percent of faceoffs.


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Scoring
1 2 3 T
LA 0 0 2 2
SJ 0 2 1 3
1st period - None.
2nd period - 1, SJ, Burns 2 (Ward, Vlasic), 2:09, (pp). 2, SJ, Pavelski 4 (Thornton, Marleau), 9:21, (pp).
3rd period - 3, SJ, Marleau 1 (Couture, Burns), , (pp). 4, LA, Lewis 2 (Schenn, Versteeg), 2:49. 5, LA, Schenn 1 (Kopitar, Gaborik), 6:44.
Penalties
1st period - None.
2nd period - Carter, LA (roughing), 0:30; Nieto, SJ (tripping), 2:33; Ward, SJ (high sticking), 5:26; Scuderi, LA (tripping), 8:42; Schenn, LA (roughing), 17:30.
3rd period - McBain, LA (high sticking), 1:34.
Goaltending
Shots Saves
LA - Quick 29 26
SJ - Jones 28 26
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
LA 8 8 12 28
SJ 11 13 5 29
Power Play Conversion
LA 0 of 2
SJ 3 of 4
3 Stars of the Game
Brent Burns
Martin Jones
Luke Schenn
Attendance
17,562
Officials
Referees: Lee, O'Rourke. Linesmen: Cormier, Miller.
Holiday Gifts at BustedTees

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