The Los Angeles Kings defeated the San Jose Sharks in Game 4 to avoid the sweep by the final of 6-3 forcing a game 5 back in San Jose on Saturday night.
The biggest lineup change for the Kings this evening was the movement of Dustin Brown to the top line in order to help contend with the size of San Jose’s top line. Other than that things pretty much stayed the same.
Once again this was a physical affair, but unlike in the first three game the officials tried to stay much more on top of things by stopping things before they got started.
This was the case on two occasions where prior to a faceoff guys were sent to the box. The first time it happened it was matching minor penalties and the second time it was matching 10-minute misconducts.
Unfortunately that did not last long and towards the end of the third period things got wildly out of hand and things to nasty.
In the first period the Kings got on the board first when Marian Gaborik scored his second goal of the series on a three-on-two odd-man rush led by Dustin Brown. He threw the puck on net and it happened upon Gaborik who slammed it home.
Late in the period the San Jose Sharks would tie the game when James Sheppard scored less than eight seconds before the period was to end. He was able to deflect a goal out of the air on a rebound and allow the Sharks to head to the dressing room with a tie score.
The second period was not as friendly to the San Jose Sharks and was one where the Kings scored three times, two of which came off the stick of Justin Williams. One of those also came on the power play after Antti Niemi made quite a few incredible saves. Unfortunately the one he let in was of the easier variety even if there was a forward bearing down on him looking for a rebound.
The lone San Jose Sharks goal came off the stick of Matt Nieto and at the time made a 2-2 hockey game. He showed a great presence of mind to chip the puck over Jonathan Quick who was down on the ice after stopping the initial shot from Patrick Marleau.
After that though the Kings scored two goals in the last four minutes of the period and it was 4-2 after two period.
In the third period Los Angeles would continue to pour it on, and once again it was Gaborik to score, this time less than a minute into the period. As a result of the goal Niemi was pulled and in came Alex Stalock for the first time in this series.
Later on the San Jose Sharks would get a chance to get back into the game on a power play chance after a Jarret Stoll cross checking penalty which nullified Justin Williams’ third goal of the game. On that power play chance Joe Pavelski scored to bring the Sharks to within two goals.
The goal, which came with just over eight minutes left, made things very interesting and gave the San Jose Sharks quite a bit of a jump. That is all it would give them though, as Quick stood strong despite some shaky defense in front of him at the end of the game.
Not only that, things got incredibly nasty once again and the game ended with a couple of fights to wrap things up. Add in an empty netter by the Kings and the final would be 6-3.
While it would have been great to see the San Jose Sharks sweep the Kings we all knew that was incredibly unlikely, especially with the Kings playing at home. Now the Sharks will get a chance to win it in front of their fans at home in game five.
GGS 3 Stars
1. Justin Williams (2 goals)
2. Marian Gaborik (2 goals)
3. Patrick Marleau (2 assists)
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