The San Jose Sharks fell to the Los Angeles Kings by the final score of 3-0 in game 5 and once again the Kings live to fight another day. Now, unlike the beginning of the series, it’s the Sharks who are on the ropes and reeling and will now have to contend with a game six in Los Angeles.
That is no easy task, although the fact San Jose won game three at least they know they can do it. The problem is they cannot start flat like they have in the past two games and expect to get away with it against a team who is playing like every game could be their last because, well, it could be. That’s why they always say the fourth one is the toughest to win, and even moreso against a roster who that knows what it takes to win the cup.
The biggest news coming out of this evening’s game, aside from how badly the San Jose Sharks were outplayed, was the loss of Marc-Edouard Vlasic in the first period after taking multiple shots to the head from Jarret Stoll.
He would head to the locker room in the latter half of the period and never returned to the game. That left the coaching staff with just five defensesmen for the rest of the game, and it is uncertain whether he will be available for game six or not. Obviously his loss would be huge as he is San Jose’s top defenseman.
Also, the struggles continue in net for Antti Niemi and was pulled for the second straight game less than a minute into the second period after allowing the third goal of the game on a Los Angeles power play. Alex Stalock then came in and played well stopping all 22 shots he faced, but unfortunately the damage had already been done.
This now raises the question as to whether or not the San Jose Sharks will go with Niemi, who has been shaky these past two games, or Stalock who has proved himself this season as a backup both during the regular season and here in the playoffs.
Recapping the goals, the Kings got out to a two-goal lead 13 minutes into the game on goals by Tyler Toffoli and Anze Kopitar. The 2-0 lead was definitely a reflection of how the first period when with the Kings fully controlling play both offensively and defensively. By the end of the period Los Angeles outshot the San Jose Sharks 18-6.
In the second period the Kings wasted no time scoring again on a shot by Jeff Carter that went off of Brad Stuart’s skate and by Niemi. After that Niemi was pulled and you knew it was panic time for the Sharks.
With Jonathan Quick in net for the Kings three goals was all they would need as he played lights out for the rest of the game. He wasn’t forced to make that many difficult saves, but when called upon rose to the challenge.
Also, throughout the game Todd McLellan and the rest of the coaching staff tried all kinds of line combos to get the offense going, but nothing worked at all. It got to a point where Patrick Marleau was playing center with Tommy Wingels on his wing, something we have not seen all season.
A tough loss for the San Jose Sharks, and one that ultimately give the Kings more confidence as they are one game away from forcing a game seven. With many questions regarding Vlasic and the goaltending it will definitely make for an interesting game 6 back at Staples Center.
GGS 3 Stars
1. Jonathan Quick (30 saves)
2. Drew Doughty (1 assist)
3. Jeff Carter (1 goal)