In what was probably the fiercest game so far this series it was the San Jose Sharks once again coming out on top by the final score of 4-3 in overtime at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. With the win the Sharks break a streak of nine-straight wins by the home team in the playoffs between these two rivals which dates back to last postseason.
Once again lines were shuffled during the game, and once again it was Tomas Hertl moving up to the first line and Joe Pavelski dropping to center the third one. Unlike game two though this change occurred a mere minutes into the game rather than halfway through it. That wouldn’t be the last time lines were shuffled either as guys were moving back and forth between lines for the better part of the game.
On the Los Angeles side of the things Jonathan Quick got the start in net despite allowing 12 goals in his first two games of the series. Many had wondered whether Darryl Sutter would go with his backup for game three but decided instead to go with his workhorse, and the one who led the Kings to the cup in 2012. That decision turned out to be a good one.
In the first period the San Jose Sharks got on the board first with a power play goal by Brent Burns. Fortunately for Burns he fanned pretty badly on the shot and it turned into a changeup which fooled Quick and beat him high. That goal means the Sharks have scored a power play goal in each of the first three games of the series.
Moving on to the second stanza where the Kings scored their first power play goal of the series on a Jarret Stoll one-timer that beat Antti Niemi stick side. The goal tied the game up at one and you could tell the Kings had the momentum after that.
Less than four minutes later Los Angeles took the lead on a three-on-two rush led by Marian Gaborik. He took the puck down the left wing and drove to the net since the two San Jose defensemen took away the passing lanes. Gaborik then made a quick move to his backhand and beat Niemi high to the glove side and just like that it was 2-1 Kings.
The San Jose Sharks would answer shortly afterward when rookie Matt Nieto scored his first career playoff goal on a great deflection off a Jason Demers shot from the point. It was a simple play, but one that Nieto did well to get a stick on, and he was rewarded to doing the dirty work in front of the net.
In the third period the Kings started off with the remnants of a second period power play and scored on a Jeff Carter deflection. Again, it was a simple wrist shot by Anze Kopitar with bodies in front of Niemi who was only able to get a piece of the puck and it squeaked by his pads.
Once again though the San Jose Sharks had an answer, and this time it was Hertl scoring his second goal of the series right after a power play expired midway through the period. Hertl was relentless and attacked a rebound in front of the net by taking four swings at it — and getting robbed at least once by Quick — before finally banging the puck home.
At three apiece and with two minutes left in regulation Stoll took a bad interference penalty and put his team down a man with the game on the line. Unfortunately for the San Jose Sharks Quick was at his best and made a few incredible stops to send the game into overtime.
In the overtime period it was the Los Angeles Kings who came out faster and better. Niemi was even better than that though and kept all five shots out of his net while fighting screens and deflections for those five minutes. He definitely kept his team in the game and saved his best for when his team needed him the most.
That was when the San Jose Sharks finally broke through, and with their first shot on net in the extra period they scored. The shot, which was a weak one off the stick of Patrick Marleau, deflected off the stick of defenseman Slava Voynov and past Quick to end the game at 4-3. Good things happen when you put the puck on the net.
GGS 3 Stars
1. Patrick Marleau (1 goal, 1 assist, 4 shots, 3 hits)
2. Jarret Stoll (1 goal, 9 hits, 63% faceoffs)
3. Antti Niemi (28 saves)