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Sharks take Game 4 with big 6-3 win
San Jose steam rolls Los Angeles with another half dozen goals
4/21/11 - By Mike Lee -

The Sharks grabbed a stranglehold on their Western Conference Quarter Final series with the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday night, by taking a big 6-3 win on the road in Game 4. Five different Sharks scored goals, including Ryane Clowe, who bagged a pair in the win. Antti Niemi made 35 stops to earn his 3rd win of the series. His counterpart, Jonathan Quick, surrendered 6 goals for the second consecutive game.

Three goal outbursts in the 2nd and 3rd periods helped propel the Sharks, who were clicking at the Staples Center. More importantly, San Jose denied the Kings from scoring on six power plays, which was the biggest hole in Game 2.

Both teams tried to settle into the game by getting their feet under them before turning on the jets. Once they did, the game turned into a track meet.

Jason Demers lit up Dustin Brown with a hip check that sent the Kings captain flying head over heels at the 5 minute mark.

Brown would take out his frustration on Joe Thornton with a slash that would send him to the penalty box. Defenseman Matt Greene followed that up with another slash 38 seconds later to give the Sharks a 5-on-3 power play. The Kings buckled down, killing both penalties, which was aided by a non-call on a cross check by Drew Doughty in the left corner.

Dan Boyle was forced to hook Wayne Simmonds after Ben Eager coughed up the puck in his own zone. San Jose created a 2-on-1 short-handed chance on the ensuing faceoff, but Quick denied Joe Pavelski on a 20-foot wrist shot.

Ian White was sent off late in the period to give the Kings a short 5-on-3, but San Jose's penalty killers defused both penalties to keep the game scoreless.

Thornton forced a turnover with 1:30 left in the period and setup a nice scoring chance. Patrick Marleau launched a one-timer off Thornton's cross-ice pass, but Quick snared it with a glove save.

Scott Nichol helped open up the ice for San Jose early in the 2nd period, after he engaged Doughty in front of the benches. Both would earn roughing minors, but it created a 4-on-4 situation that the Sharks would use to carve up the Kings defense.

The Sharks were the beneficiaries of some good luck early in the 2nd period. Ryane Clowe found the back of the net after throwing the puck on net from the right corner. Kings defenseman Alec Martinez mishandled the puck, deflecting it into his own net.

Martinez's night would get worse less than two minutes later, after he deflected a puck back to Logan Couture in the slot. The Sharks rookie whipped a pass to his left, where Jason Demers was slicing to the net for the one-timer past Quick.

Both goals came on the 4-on-4, courtesy of Nichol.

Nichol would help setup another goal after he induced Greene into taking a double-minor for high sticking at the 6:00 mark.

The Kings would kill off all but the last 32 seconds of the 4 minute penalty, but that wasn't good enough. Clowe tapped home a deflection off Quick, after Couture rifled a shot off the Kings netminder.

Kings head coach Terry Murray tried to settle his team down by calling a timeout after the goal, similar to Todd McLellan's move in Game 3.

The move would pay off. Niclas Wallin mishandled the puck in the Sharks zone, allowing Ryan Smyth to put a shot on goal. Sharks goaltender Antti Niemi was forced to go down to make the save, allowing the puck to sit perched on the right side of the crease. Brad Richardson swooped around the back of the net and stuffed it home to cut the Sharks lead to 3-1.

The luck would shift in the Kings direction late in the period when Marc-Edouard Vlasic defelcted a Justin Williams pass into his own net. Vlasic tried to get inside position on Smyth as the two headed for the net, but his stick tapped the puck past Niemi to make a one-goal lead for San Jose.

With the momentum tipping the ice toward the Sharks goal, White took a tripping penalty to make things that much more difficult.

The intermission allowed San Jose to regroup and figure out how to repel the Kings push. The answer was to simply score more goals.

Joe Thornton pushed the Sharks lead to 4-2 by chipping home a sweet pass from Kyle Wellwood at 2:28 of the 3rd period. Wellwood carried the puck along the end boards from right to left, then whipped a shot to the slot, picking up the cutting Thornton.

Pavelski pushed the Sharks lead back to three goals 54 seconds later on a deflection from the slot. Pavelski had his back to the net, but he was able to get a stick on a Dan Boyle feed from the right side.

Torrey Mitchell scored his 1st of the playoffs on a tap in from the right side at 11:42. Once again, Wellwood got the primary assist by bouncing a shot off Quick. Mitchell was Johnny-on-the-spot to punch home the deflection for the 4-goal lead.

Niemi made a big pad save on next shift after the Kings forced the puck deep and a deflection skittered across the slot.

Jack Johnson pumped a shot from the left point less than two minutes later that Alexei Ponikarovsky apparently tipped past Niemi to make a 6-3 game. Replays showed the shot on straight trajectory to the net, but Ponikarovsky was credited with is 1st goal of the playoffs.

San Jose's penalty killers did their job all night long, but came up especially big late in the contest. An undisciplined tripping penalty by Dany Heatley was followed by a cross-checking penalty by Boyle 15 seconds later, putting the Kings on a lengthy 5-on-3. Killing those penalties was the final nail in the coffin for Los Angeles.

Game Notes


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1 2 3 T
SJ 0 3 3 6
LA 0 2 1 3
1st period - None
2nd period - 1, SJ, Clowe 3 (Vlasic), 3:58. 2, SJ, Demers 1 (Couture, Heatley), 5:12. 3, SJ, Clowe 4 (Couture, White), 9:28, (pp). 4, LA, Richardson 2 (Smyth), 7:00. 5, LA, Williams 2 (Mitchell), 16:04.
3rd period - 6, SJ, Thornton 1 (Marleau, Wellwood), 2:28. 7, SJ, Pavelski 3 (Boyle), 3:22. 8, SJ, Mitchell 1 (Wellwood, White), 11:42. 9, LA, Ponikarovsky 1 (Johnson, Lewis), 13:11.
1st period - Brown, LA (slashing), 7:56; Greene, LA (slashing), 8:34; Boyle, SJ (hooking), 12:26; White, SJ (tripping), 14:13.
2nd period - Nichol, SJ (roughing), 3:14; Doughty, LA (roughing), 3:14; Greene, LA (high sticking - double minor), 6:00; Williams, LA (tripping), 12:18; White, SJ (tripping), 16:23.
3rd period - Setoguchi, SJ (goaltender interference), 6:42; Heatley, SJ (tripping), 16:46; Boyle, SJ (cross checking), 17:01; Nichol, SJ (10 min misconduct), 17:01; Simmonds, LA (10 min misconduct), 19:15; Westgarth, LA (charging), 19:46; Westgarth, LA (10 min misconduct), 19:36.
Shots Saves
SJ - Niemi 38 35
LA - Quick 27 21
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
SJ 13 10 4 27
LA 9 17 12 38
Power Play Conversion
SJ 1 of 6
LA 0 of 6
3 Stars of the Game
Ryane Clowe
Logan Couture
Brad Richardson
Referees: LaRue, Sutherland. Linesmen: Driscoll, Kovachik.
Holiday Gifts at BustedTees

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