The San Jose Sharks managed another win, bringing the series to an astounding 3-0 in favor of the Sharks.
Despite winning two games by decent margins, the Sharks were weary of winning while at the Staples Center. And it wasn’t easy. The game was more like what fans expected to see at the kick-off of the series.
At the beginning of regulation, there was no room to be comfortable. The Kings once held the same lead over the Sharks in the semifinals which eventually went to a Game 7. But the Sharks were able to manage an overtime win; making it the first win by a visiting team in ten playoff games between the two teams.
“It’s been a while. It feels good,” Sharks forward Joe Pavelski said. “It’s another step in this series; they’ll be coming at us again next game.”
This was without a doubt the most difficult game so far in the series. Neither team led by more than 1 point throughout the entire 60 minutes.
The scoring began during a Sharks power play. With 11 seconds left of the penalty, Brent Burns fired the puck to the back of the net. Not too long into the second period, the Kings followed suit and Tyler Toffoli managed to get one past Niemi during a Kings man-advantage.
Towards the end of the second period, Gaboraik led a rush into the Sharks zone and capitalized on the three on two. Despite this, less than 80 seconds later, Matt Nieto managed to tip a shot in the net originally from Jason Demers.
Again, in the third period both teams managed to score on power plays. First it was the Kings with a goal by Carter. Next it was the Sharks with Hertl scoring off of his own rebound, tying the game at 3-3.
“Coming into the room [before overtime], we felt good,” Thornton said. “Our best period was the third and we thought we could roll it over in the overtime. Our group just felt comfortable that someone was going to be the hero tonight, and thank goodness it was Patty.”
And at 6:20 of overtime, Patrick Marleau managed to make the game winner with a backhanded shot that slid by Quick. “Well, you just try to shoot it on net,” Marleau said. “This one was not a hard shot by any means, but you just get it to the net.” Niemi played a huge role in the win as well, making five overtime saves before the Sharks were able to score.
The Sharks still need one more. “I thought we played a pretty good hockey game,” said Kings coach Darryl Sutter. “We were pretty good tonight and so were they.” The Kings did indeed play better than the past two and I’m sure will be even more determined come Game 4.
I’m hoping to see a sweep of the Kings for the first time since 2000.