May 26, 2013; San Jose, CA, USA; San Jose Sharks celebrate after game six of the second round of the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs against the Los Angeles Kings at HP Pavilion. The Sharks defeated the Kings 2-1. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

San Jose Sharks Force Game 7 Behind Niemi And Strong 3rd Period

Behind a strong third period performance, the San Jose Sharks were able to tie the series at three and send this to a seventh game.

It was a game where the Sharks got stronger as the game progressed and by the end of it had their defensive zone locked down.

San Jose got off to a great start and earned four power plays in the first period, including a five-on-three advantage, and were able to take advantage.  The Sharks were able to score on that two-man advantage on a great pass from Joe Pavelski to Joe Thornton who had all day to fire the puck into the open net.

As you can tell from the video, Pavelski was able to take advantage of Jonathan Quick’s aggressiveness by passing the puck across the crease, immediately putting the Kings’ goaltender out of position.

From that point the Sharks never trailed, but it was not for a lack of chances on the part of the Kings.  Los Angeles hit four posts in that first period including a couple on shots that clearly beat Antti Niemi.  Still, he was strong in net during the period and was San Jose’s best penalty killer during Los Angeles’ two power plays.

The Sharks scored again in the second period on a shot by T.J. Galiardi that looked to catch Quick off guard.  Galiardi used Robyn Regehr as a screen as he shot it through the Kings defenseman’s legs.  That was enough of a hinderance for Quick and just like that the Sharks were up 2-0 in the second.

The Kings eventually came back with one of their own though later on in the period to close the gap.  Captain Dustin Brown scored on a puck that he just threw at the net from behind the goal-line.  The puck ended up bouncing off of Niemi and into the net with about six minutes left in the period to make the score 2-1.

When the third period rolled around the Sharks, who usually get frantic and have moments where they run around in their own zone while trying to protect a lead, were incredible defensively.  In fact, they only allowed eight Los Angeles shots in that period.

That’s very low when compared to games two and four when the Sharks entered both third periods with leads as well.  In game two the Sharks were outshot 18-7 while in game four the Sharks were outshot 14-2.  This time, San Jose outshot the Kings 9-8 and dominated all three zones throughout the period.  The one or two times the Kings did threated Niemi was there to make sure nothing got by.

Now, off to game seven we go where anything can happen.  They Sharks will look to be the first of the two teams to win on the road during the series while the Kings will want to keep the the home-ice always wins trend alive.  We will be doing another live blog during the game, which starts at 6pm on the west coast on Tuesday night, so check us out during the game.

GGS 3 Stars
1. Antti Niemi (1 assist, 24 saves)
2. T.J. Galiardi (1 goal)
3. 4th Line of Burish, Kearns, and Sheppard

Tags: Antti Niemi Joe Pavelski Joe Thornton Los Angeles Kings San Jose Sharks T.J. Galiardi

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