The player of the game was definitely Jonathan Quick who stopped 34 shots from San Jose, 15 of which came in the third period. In fact, the Sharks outshot the Kings 15-4 in that final stanza but were unable to get a single shot by the Kings’ netminder.
Overall the Sharks dominated the shot department 34-20 but the Kings were able to get two of those 20 by Niemi.
The Sharks came out surprisingly strong while it was the Kings who were flat early on. Unfortunately, even after a great first power play just five minutes into the game, San Jose could not beat Quick.
Also surprising was how physical the Sharks were through the first two periods outhitting Los Angeles 31-24. That all evened out in the third period when the Sharks were more focused on scoring, but they showed they could play the physical game just as well. Leading the Sharks in the hitting department were Tommy Wingels with eight hits and Brent Burns with six.
The first of those goals was scored by offensive-defenseman Slava Voynov who was picked up a loose puck off the boards and had all kinds of room to step into a shot. He fired the slap-shot from the top of the circle and beat Niemi top-shelf over a sprawled out Logan Couture to take the 1-0 lead.
That goal ended up being the game-winner for the Kings since the Sharks went scoreless for the game. That makes it three game-winning goals for Voynov so far in the playoffs.
The Kings scored scored their second goal midway through the second period, once again with Voynov involved. He fired a shot from the blue-line, but this time got a deflection off of Mike Richards’ skate which Niemi could not handle. That made it 2-0, and was all the scoring there would be for the game.
While the Sharks looked like the stronger team it was the Kings who took the victory behind better goaltending. Granted, both of the goals on Niemi were of the higher degree of difficulty, but Quick was the difference.
I did love how physical San Jose was and their willingness to throw their body around whenever the chance presented itself. Bracken Kearns also made his debut for the Sharks, getting the start over Tim Kennedy. He probably got the call over Kennedy due to the fact that he plays a more physical game than Kennedy, something which would help San Jose match up with Los Angeles better.
That being said, it may have thrown them off their game a little, and going for the body did take the Sharks out of defensive positioning a couple of times. We’ll have to see if that trend continues for the next game, which takes place on Thursday evening.
GGS 3 Stars
1. Jonathan Quick (34 saves)
2. Slava Voynov (1 goal, 1 assist)
3. Mike Richards (1 goal, 1 assist)