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Sharks make a statement
6 different players score for SJ in 6-3 win
4/17/14 - By Mike Lee -

The Sharks opened the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs with a big start on Thursday night at SAP Center. They then took their foot off the gas and finished the game by allowing the Los Angeles Kings to score three 3rd period goals. Not the perfect performance, but in the end San Jose's 6 tallies were enough to power the Sharks to a Game 1 victory. If the game was any indication, the series is going to be a humdinger.

San Jose used a combination of intensity, lots of shots early and big hitting to jump out to a big 5-0 lead before the Kings chipped away at the Sharks lead. Nine different players scored goals, but the Sharks controlled things throughout most of the game by scoring a bushel of goals early.

Joe Thornton opened things with a goal 3:06 into the contest. Brent Burns did all the heavy lifting, carrying the puck along the end boards before shuffling a pass out to the slot. Joe Pavelski snet a backhand shot on net, but Thornton got a stick on it as he danced across the top of the Kings crease.

Thornton's goal came moments after the Kings narrowly missed on a pair of chances on Sharks goaltender Antti Niemi.

The remainder of the period was all Sharks, who continuously peppered Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick with a steady barrage of pucks. Rookie Tomas Hertl scored his 1st career playoff goal with 52 seconds remaining in the opening period. Tommy Wingels tried setting up James Sheppard with a pass through the high slot, but Sheppard heeled the shot, sliding the puck over toward the left post. Hertl was lurking in the neighborhood and easily tapped home the errant shot. Ironically Dustin Brown was on the ice and appeared to miss the defensive coverage on Hertl. Brown forced Hertl to miss a majority of his rookie season after injuring the youngster with a knee-on-knee hit.

The Sharks could have been content to head into the locker room with their 2-goal lead, but Patrick Marleau had other ideas. Marleau traded passes with Matt Nieto as the two raced up ice in a 2-on-1 chance. Nieto muffed Marleau's pass, missing on a chance to shoot, so he flipped it back at his linemate. Marleau tapped home the puck from almost the identical spot that Hertl scored his goal from 48 seconds earlier.

Marc-Edouard Vlasic rang a shot off the crossbar midway through the 2nd period, bouncing his shot back out to the front of the net. As Quick tried to locate the puck, Raffi Torres swopped in from the right point and wristed a shot home for the 4-0 lead.

Vlasic wouldn't miss on his next chance, as he buried a wrist-shot on a power play after Tyler Toffoli was sent off for slashing Logan Couture on a breakaway chance.

Quick closed out the period, but his evening came to an end after the two teams emerged from the dressing rooms after the 2nd intermission. Martin Jones replaced Quick but had to deal with a light load over the final 20 minutes.

Los Angeles regrouped and began to chip away at the Sharks lead.

Jake Muzzin used a screen in front of Niemi to get the Kings on the board 2:01 into the 3rd period. Muzzin threw the puck on net from the left point as Justin Williams crossed in front of the Sharks goal.

Slava Voynov made it two straight goals for Los Angeles 5 minutes later, snapping a shot from the right dot past A screened Niemi. Voynov grabbed a clearing attempt along the right wing boards, then side-stepped Sheppard before sliding along the boards and unleashing his shot. Jarret Stoll obstructed Niemi's vision by parking in front of the Sharks netminder.

A wave of uneasiness cast over the sellout crowd when a Jeff Carter shot hit Trevor Lewis' skate and deflected into the Sharks net, cutting the Sharks lead to 5-3. The goal came with 6 minutes to play, which was plenty of time for the Kings to mount a comeback.

Niemi buckled down to prevent any more pucks in his net.

Burns collected a turnover after the Kings worked the puck into the Sharks zone with an extra attacker, then sent it the length of the ice for an empty net goal. The goal came after Jones was beckoned to the bench with a minute to play.

The start of the game was in jeopardy after the arena suffered a power outage right before the pre-game skate. The arena went dark for several seconds until emergency generators kicked into gear. The sound and center ice video system was not restored until game time.

Mike Brown spent the evening harassing Kings on the ice, while his wife Kati was busy delivering the couple's second child. Zane Michael was born at 8:31 p.m.

The two teams combined for 122 hits. San Jose tied their regular season record with 52 hits, set against the same Kings back in early April.

Hertl became the first Sharks rookie to record multiple points in their playoff debut.

Game Quotes

Head Coach Todd McLellan: "It was a great game. We won. We'll talk about the third period obviously. We were disappointed with the way we responded there. But for the most part, it was a real good game. And now we leave it alone. It's over. It's done."

Todd McLellan (on the upcoming game Sunday): "Regardless of what the score was, for or against us, we've got to move on now and prepare to get better. And be ready on Sunday. We only have to look back to last year, they went to St.Louis, and got down 2-0 and still came back and won four straight. They are a very good hockey club for a reason. And they showed it in the third period tonight."

Joe Thornton: "It was a weird night. We got fortunate with a couple of those goals."

Joe Thornton (on Desjardins line): "They were banging early. You could feel their energy and that encited everybody else. But they started the whole shift for us tonight with a couple big bangs and that got us going. Got the early lead and then we went on from there."

Marc-Edouard Vlasic: "We expected them to push back and they did. We got to be ready for game two. We had two great periods. Third one wasn't that great. But we'll be ready for Sunday."

Marc-Edouard Vlasic (on all lines scoring): "It was great. We need that to go far to win the cup. You need depth and we showed that tonight."

Raffi Torres: "If you sit back against a team like that's what they are going to do. We got to keep going after them and keep playing the way we know how to play. We can't take breaks in the third. I think we got to learn from that."

Head Coach Darryl Sutter: "First period, chasing the puck. You're not going to beat a team like that chasing the puck."

Darryl Sutter: "Combination (of turnovers and speed). First off, coming into a building like this, you have to be prepared to face a little bit of an onslaught in the first part of the game. And, obviously, we didn't do a good enough job getting our players prepared for that."

Dustin Brown: "I think we weren't ready to start. They're up to a three-nothing lead and sloppy play, turnovers, bad changes, odd man rushes. We probably gave up more odd man rushes in the first period than we have in the last, I don't know (month), yeah. So when you give a team like that opportunities on the odd man, they're going to make you pay, and that's what they did. It was more of the same in the second."

Dustin Brown (on Quick): "He made a lot of huge saves for us tonight. It just happened they had too many grade-A scoring chances. I think the puck came off mine, he was looking one way and it came out the other. We can't give up that opportunity."

Dustin Brown: "I don't know if stunning is the right word, but whatever you want to use as an adjective, it's just a result of us not being ready to play from the get go. Again, we talk about their offensive fire power. When we play into their hand like that, I mean it should be...the score should be that way if we're going to turn the puck over and be sloppy."

Willie Mitchell: "Not a start we wanted, no doubt about that. You know, this club plays well in this building, and in order to have success against them, early on, you've got to do the right things with the puck. We didn't do that and paid the price dearly for it."


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1 2 3 T
LA 0 0 3 3
SJ 3 2 1 6
1st period - 1, SJ, Thornton 1 (Pavelski, Burns), 3:06. 2, SJ, Hertl 1 (Sheppard, Wingels), 19:08. 3, SJ, Marleau 1 (Nieto, Sheppard), 19:56.
2nd period - 4, SJ, Torres 1 (Brown, Vlasic), 12:57. 5, SJ, Vlasic 1 (Hertl, Couture), 16:29, (pp).
3rd period - 6, LA, Muzzin 1 (Kopitar), 2:01. 7, LA, Voynov 1 (unassisted), 6:55. 8, LA, Lewis 1 (Carter, Regehr), 13:59. 9, SJ, Burns 1 (unassisted), 19:05, (en).
1st period - Nolan, LA (roughing), 4:59; Clifford, LA (roughing), 4:59; Brown, SJ (goaltender interference), 4:59; Desjardins, SJ (roughing), 4:59; Doughty, LA (holding), 9:42; Hertl, SJ (hooking), 13:32.
2nd period - Demers, SJ (elbowing), 9:39; Clifford, LA (high sticking), 13:19; Toffoli, LA (slashing), 14:50; Sheppard, SJ (tripping), 18:25.
3rd period - None.
Shots Saves
LA - Quick 28 23
LA - Jones 4 4
LA - empty net 1 0
SJ - Niemi 34 31
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
LA 8 10 16 34
SJ 14 14 5 33
Power Play Conversion
LA 0 of 3
SJ 1 of 3
3 Stars of the Game
Marc-Edouard Vlasic
Raffi Torres
James Sheppard
Referees: Meier, Sutherland. Linesmen: Pancich, Sharrers.
Holiday Gifts at BustedTees

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