After a 6-3 game one victory at home the San Jose Sharks played even stronger by defeating the Los Angeles Kings 7-2 to take a 2-0 series lead. This comes as quite a surprise against the best defense in the league after giving up a league low 174 goals throughout the regular season.
The game actually started out in L.A.’s favor early on as they were the ones who jumped out to a 2-0 lead after 20 minutes. Still, the San Jose Sharks looked like the stronger team even though they were not getting the goals.
Either way it was a huge difference from game one and when Los Angeles scored first less than two minutes into the game you knew this would not be a repeat of the first game. That was until the second period rolled around and the San Jose Sharks got things going in their favor.
It all started when the fourth line started getting physical early on in the second and created a goal because of it on the forecheck. Mike Brown, who was the third man into the offensive zone on the forecheck, fired a one-timer from Andrew Desjardins on net where Raffi Torres was providing a great screen in front. Brown’s shot beat Jonathan Quick and got San Jose on the scoreboard.
The fourth line struck again at about the midway point of the period on a great transition through the neutral zone. Desjardins led the rush and gained the blue-line with ease then dropped the puck to Torres who sniped a shot high to the blocker side of Quick and just like that the game was tied.
The San Jose Sharks would get one more goal, this time from the third line, to make it 3-2 before the end of the second period on a simple shot by Justin Braun from the point. Again the key was getting bodies in front of Quick and this time it was Tommy Wingels providing the screen and not allowing the Kings’ goaltender to see the puck at all.
In the third period the Sharks continued the onslaught and added another four goals. It started with Patrick Marleau scoring his second goal in as many playoff games thus far while also picking up an assist on a goal by his linemate Logan Couture later on in the period. Also scoring were Joe Pavelski on a three-on-none after an abysmal line change by the Kings and a Joe Thornton five-on-three power play goal to cap things off.
The one thing we saw this evening that we did not see in game one was the continuity of the offense after getting a lead in the third. Rather than sitting back and letting the Kings back into the game the San Jose Sharks kept their foot on the pedal and finished strong. Also, give San Jose credit for not giving in to the Kings’ ‘goonery’ late in the game.
Lastly, San Jose’s second period resurgence was the direct result of quality play from the bottom lines, and specifically the fourth line which got the Sharks going early by getting physical then getting the team on the board twice withing five minutes.
Also a nod to the coaching staff for choosing to switch up the lines and moving Tomas Hertl up to the first line while dropping Joe Pavelski to his third-line center position. That in-game adjustment at the beginning of the second period also helped spread out the San Jose Sharks’ attack and made it harder for the Kings defense to key on a line or two.
All in all a great first two games of the series, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Historically the Kings have been just as good at home against the Sharks and by the end of game four this could series could easily be tied. After all, just as head coach Todd McLellan said in his post-game press conference, “the goals are irrelevant”. And he’s right, it doesn’t matter how big the goal differential was in the first two games, it’s all about the wins.
GGS 3 Stars
1. Mike Brown (1 goal, 10 hits, 12 PIM, +2)
2. Andrew Desjardins (2 assists, 3 hits, 10 PIM, +2)
3. Raffi Torres (1 goal, 4 hits, +2)