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Sharks exact a little revenge
SJ wins opening round series 4-1 over Los Angeles
4/22/15 - By Mike Lee -

The Sharks got a little redemption on Friday night. It wasn't full retribution for the great playoff collapse of 2014, but it was a nice little accomplishment that every player who wore teal two season ago had the pleasure of enjoying. San Jose out gunned the Los Angeles Kings in a wild 6-3 shootout at Staples Center, which allows the Sharks to advance to the Western Conference Semi-Finals. There was great irony in the game after the Sharks blew a 3-0 lead in the game before unloading two years of frustration on the Kings with a 3-goal 3rd period.

The game was a roller coaster ride, filled with ups and downs, finishing with a flurry of ups that vault the Sharks into the 2nd round by beating the Kings in five games.

The storyline was broken down into three parts. A fantastic 1st period for San Jose, followed by a disastrous middle frame. The climax came in the 3rd period, when the Sharks shook off their tough 2nd period with a flurry of goals that left no doubt who the better team was in this series.

Three of the four Sharks wins in the series came on Staples Center ice, which was a testament to San Jose's resiliency on the road. Shaking off that 2nd period and attacking the net is something the 2014 Sharks failed to do. This is a much different team.

Part of that resurgence can be credited to a young core that went to work in game 5. Joonas Donskoi, Chris Tierney and Melker Karlsson all scored their first career playoff goals to help pace San Jose. Donskoi potted a pair, including the go-ahead goal in the 3rd period that turned the tide on Los Angeles.

Donskoi opened the game's scoring by whipping a shot from right side of the slot after carrying the puck up the right wing 1:08 into the game. Donskoi waited for Jake Muzzin to slide out of the shooting lane before whipping a shot that tucked inside the left post.

Luke Schenn and Dustin Brown took penalties 16 seconds apart to give the Sharks a lengthy 5-on-3 power play, but San Jose misfired on the two-man advantage.

Tierney made it a 2-0 game at 11:21, scoring from almost the exact same spot as Donskoi's goal. Brent Burns fed Tierney up the right wing, allowing the forward to carry the puck into the Kings zone as linemate Tommy Wingels created traffic in front of the net. Tierney snapped home a shot that beat Jonathan Quick then clanked off the left post and into the net.

San Jose picked up where they left off early in the 2nd period, when Matt Nieto punched home his 1st goal of the playoffs from the doorstep after Joel Ward slid a pass to the top of the crease from the right dot. Nieto stuck his nose into an unpleasant place but was able to get his stick on the puck, forcing it between Quick's pads.

Things looked like they were only going to get better when Patrick Marleau was hooked on a breakaway chance to draw a penalty shot, but the Sharks forward could only muster a weak backhand attempt the Quick gloved with ease.

That miss seemed to serve as a momentum shift. Rather than leading by a formidable 4-goal lead, the Sharks allowed a small crack for the Kings to exploit. And that they did.

Los Angeles was the benefactor of another fluky goal as a a Drew Doughty shot hit Dwight King's skate in the high slot, redirecting it to the right side of the goal where it hit Anze Kopitar 's skate. The deflection off Kopitar found its way to the net, skipping past Martin Jones on the double redirect.

Jeff Carter made it a 3-2 game 4 minutes later, taking a feed from Muzzin as he skated to the front of the net. Carter gathered the pass then pivoted to face Jones and snap a shot from 8 feet out. There was nothing Jones could do against the point blank shot.

With the momentum clearly shifting in the Kings favor, the Sharks backed into the own zone for the remainder of the period in an attempt to stop the bleeding. That didn't stop Kris Versteeg from banging home his 1st goal of the playoffs with 3:24 left in the period. Kyle Clifford rang a shot off the right post that everyone thought was in the net, but Versteeg deftly stayed on the puck, punching it into the wide open net to knot the game at 3-3.

San Jose made it to the 2nd intermission still tied, which allowed them to regroup in preparation for their big 3rd period.

Donskoi gave the Sharks the lead for good 3:58 into the final frame. Trying to advance the puck on net from the left side, the young Finnish forward got a off a meek that that bounced in front of the net, where Brent Burns gathered it as he was skating from right to left. Sensing Donskoi was circling behind the net to the right side, Burns sent a blind pass back through the slot to the right side of the goal mouth. Donskoi was right where Burns hoped he'd be, collecting the pass and snapping it past Quick for the 4-3 lead.

Joe Pavelski padded the Sharks lead with 7:36 left in regulation, firing a shot from teh right side as he streaked up the boards. The shot handcuffed Quick, slipping just past his right pad. The goal was Pavelski's 5th of the playoffs.

Kings head coach Darryl Sutter was forced to pull Quick with more than 4 minutes left in regulation. After a series of icing calls, Karlsson got his stick on a loose puck and was able to deposit it into the Kings net to cap the scoring.

The Kings only had one 3-goal comeback in them, and they used that up in the 2nd period. Only the customary handshake between the two teams remained, which had to be sweet revenge for San Jose.

Game Notes:

* The Sharks are 16-11 all-time against Los Angeles in the playoffs.

* The two teams combined for 69 hits, which was a massage compared to the 100 hit output in Game 2.

* Ten different Sharks recorded points in the game, led by Logan Couture and Burns who both had 3 assists in the game.





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Scoring
1 2 3 T
SJ 2 1 3 6
LA 0 3 0 3
1st period - 1, SJ, Donskoi 1 (Couture), 1:08. 2, SJ, Tierney 1 (Burns), 11:21.
2nd period - 3, SJ, Nieto 1 (Ward, Couture), 4:05. Unssuccessful Penalty Shot, SJ, Marleau, 5:31. 4, LA, Kopitar 2 (King, Doughty), 7:44. 5, LA, Carter 1 (Muzzin, Toffoli), 11:26. 6, LA, Versteeg 1 (Clifford, Muzzin), 16:36.
3rd period - 7, SJ, Donskoi 2 (Burns, Couture), 3:58. 8, SJ, Pavelski 5 (Burns, Martin), 12:24. 9, SJ, Karlsson (Marleau), 19:38, (en).
Penalties
1st period - Schenn, LA (interference), 2:45. Brown, LA (tripping), 3:01; ward, SJ (tripping), 16:27.
2nd period - Lewis, LA (slashing), 17:26.
3rd period - None.
Goaltending
Shots Saves
SJ - Jones 22 19
LA - Quick 27 22
LA - empty net 1 0
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
SJ 13 10 5 28
LA 4 14 4 22
Power Play Conversion
SJ 0 of 3
LA 0 of 1
3 Stars of the Game
Joonas Donskoi
Brent Burns
Vincent Lecavalier
Attendance
18,543
Officials
Referees: Rooney, St Laurent. Linesmen: Murray, Barton.
Holiday Gifts at BustedTees

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