Apr 3, 2014; San Jose, CA, USA; San Jose Sharks center Joe Thornton (19) pushes Los Angeles Kings defenseman Jake Muzzin (6) during the third period at SAP Center at San Jose. The Sharks defeated the Kings 2-1. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

San Jose Sharks Strike First Blood, Take 1-0 Series Lead

The San Jose Sharks defeated the Los Angeles Kings by the final score of 6-3 in a game that turned out much closer that it should have been. This was due to the Sharks squandering a 5-0 lead after two periods by allowing three Kings’ goals in the third.

This game was pretty much all the Sharks could ask for in terms of starting off strongly in the series. The San Jose Sharks were much more aggressive, capitalized on mistakes, and were pretty sound defensively until that third period rolled around.

In all the stats made the game look more even than it was with the Kings finishing with the slight 34-33 lead in shots and 35-33 lead in faceoffs. Also, there were a crazy amount of hits — 121 in all — with the Kings accounting for 69 of them. The problem was once San Jose got out to the big lead they became complacent and little by little the Kings chipped away at it.

The biggest name back in the lineup today for the Sharks was Raffi Torres. This was his first game back after playing that short span of games immediately following the Olympic break. But, just like his short stretch of games he was once again effective scoring a goal and racking up seven hits in just under nine minutes of ice time.

The first two periods belonged to the San Jose Sharks starting just three minutes into the game. Joe Thornton (of all people) started off the game with a tip-in goal on a Joe Pavelski shot from the front of the net.

Eventually Tomas Hertl and Patrick Marleau would add goals of their own to push the San Jose Sharks’ lead to 3-0 after the first period. Marleau’s goal came with a little over three seconds left in the period and was definitely a heartbreaker for the Kings early on.

In the second period it started out more evenly, but eventually the Sharks would take over once again. This time it was the fourth line getting involved with Torres getting his first goal of the playoffs as well as Marc-Edouard Vlasic pitching in from defense on the power play. After that goal it was 5-0 and the San Jose Sharks had all the momentum going into the locker room.

The Kings finally got on the board in the third period when Jason Demers failed to complete a breakout pass and instead put it right onto the stick of a Kings player. That turnover eventually  turned into a goal which started to turn the tide of the game slowly. The shot was definitely stoppable, but I guess with a five-goal lead there is a bit of leeway.

They were not done either, as they would score two more goals in the third period to make the game 5-3. At that point you could sense an air of nervousness in the arena, and with the San Jose Sharks, even with the Kings still down two goals with six minutes left in the game.

The final icing on the cake came from the stick of Brent Burns who scored an empty net goal with Los Angeles trying to make that final push for two goals in the last couple of minutes of play. His goal with 55 seconds left in regulation came as a sigh of relief for many who were definitely unnerved by the Kings’ third period surge.  In the end though it was San Jose Sharks six Los Angeles Kings three, and more importantly the Sharks lead the series 1-0.

GGS 3 Stars
1. Marc-Edouard Vlasic (1 goal, 1 assist, 5 shots)
2. Raffi Torres (1 goal, 7 hits)
3.Brent Burns (1 goal, 1 assist, 5 shots, 6 hits)

Tags: Antti Niemi Brent Burns Marc-Edouard Vlasic Patrick Marleau Raffi Torres San Jose Sharks Tomas Hertl

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