SAN JOSE—The Kings thought they could regroup after suffering a six goal rally from the Sharks in Game 1. Despite their best efforts in the first period, the Sharks rallied to a seven unanswered run over Los Angeles to dominate the night with a 7-2 victory. San Jose holds a two-game lead on the series putting the Kings in a different situation not seen by their Nor Cal rivals.
The opening period looked to be going the Kings way for the first time in this series. The game play they brought to the ice looked well formed and they could actually bring a fight to even the series. Jake Muzzin scored the first goal of the game through traffic, as a he found the left side of the net of Sharks goaltender Antti Niemi to take a 1-0 lead for LA. The Kings offense lasted for a short moment in the period, as the Sharks began to grasp hold of offensive time blasting shots on Jonathan Quick, with no luck as his action to play better against them was important on this night.
On the faceoff in the Kings end, San Jose got off three shots with a wrap around attempt from Logan Couture that was stopped out front to end the. Tomas Hertl nearly tied the game on an open chance shooting point blank, but failed to convert it into a goal. Jason Demers later sent a stretch pass to teammate Tommy Wingels failing to notch his first of the season.
Quick dealt with two more rebounded shots after Wingels attempt to keep the game in his team’s end. To make matters better for Los Angeles, Trevor Lewis and his luck scored his second of the playoffs on a deflection from Jeff Carter’s shot that beat Niemi on the glove side. Though they were outshot bySan Jose 15-10, having two goals was their best showing of the series so far.
Keeping the two goal lead became their breaking point with 40 minutes left to play as the wheels began to fall off the LA defense. Four minutes into the second, Mike Brown scored the Sharks first of the night on a breakdown of coverage near center leaving Quick and the firing line wide open. A 3 on 2 rush from San Jose helped Raffi Torres gain his second of the series on a snap shot to the stick side to even the game at two apiece.
The breakdown of defense caused further basic tactics from Los Angeles to go out the window as they relentlessly stole the puck away from the Kings with the high number of hits delivered to each other. Though they both traded clean checks evenly throughout the game, the Sharks tenacity paid off in more ways than just the physical. Justin Braun made that clear by breaking the tie, scoring a snap shot that he deflected near the crease. It looked to be too easy for the Sharks to score three so fast, but the evidence was clear that Los Angeles was suddenly out of sorts and could not let the game get away from them.
The final 20 minutes of regulation became memories that the Kings wish not to remember again. Sixty-eight seconds into the third, the Sharks created another odd man rush for Patrick Marleau creating a two goal lead. The team countered on a Kings collision in the neutral zone to a 3 on none breakaway putting Joe Pavelski in a far too easy position to score.
The embarrassment Los Angeles felt let tempers to get out of hand with Matt Greene letting loss on Torres before the ninth minute where Jarret Stoll added his name into the mix. That sent the happy go lucky Sharks on a five on three power play where the honor came at the hands of captain Joe Thornton to score on Quick; he surprisingly never left the ice and was handed his seventh goal allowed.
The massacre that occurred left the Kings with 10 minutes of hockey left to play, but at the present moment, a hockey game couldn’t possibly be played. It turned into a massive brawl between Kings captain Dustin Brown and mates Kyle Clifford and Mike Richards who took on forwards Brown, Couture and Andrew Desjardin who had assisted on the first goals from San Jose.
The fight seemed to help out Los Angeles who didn’t allow another goal to be entered behind Quick who endured the final minutes before skating towards the bench to have words with his entire team after the horn sounded.
Of the Kings 26 shots on net, 22 were blocked by the defense of Niemi’s line mates during the span of the game. He saw just four shots total where he allowed a pair and no more. Quick’s goals against average on the night lifting up to 7.20 with a .824 save percentage. Perhaps a chance in the net will come at home on Tuesday night at the Staples Center where they will fight to the teeth to prevent any further beating from the Sharks that result in large marginal losses.