The NHL playoffs are defined by heart. Defined by not giving up when the odds are against you and making the comeback. LA, the reigning champions, put that on display last night as they grabbed this game from sure defeat and took an opening 2-0 Series lead against the San Jose Sharks.
The game started off great for the Kings. Just over 3 minutes into the game, Jeff Carter leads a 2-on-2 rush down the ice. Capitalizing on a weird pivot from the defender, Carter gets an extra inch of room and shelfs the puck passed Antti Niemi. Despite that early goal, much of the play was dominated by a relentless San Jose pressure throughout the period. The shots of the first ended up 11-4 in favor of the Sharks, who just couldn’t buy a goal on Jonathan Quick in the first.
Early into the second period Drew Doughty was left alone at the point on the power play. And for those that follow Doughty, they know exactly how this ends up. With no coverage and a mess in front of the net, Doughty blasts the puck and gives the Kings a 2-0 lead. With the Sharks just off the power play and still controlling in the offensive zone, Patrick Marleau would put home his fifth of the playoffs, pulling the Sharks within one. Minutes later Brad Stuart would net one and this game was tied. The Sharks had to wait a game and a half to score, but they finally started getting on the board.
Half way through the third period Marc-Edouard Vlasic would give the Sharks their first lead of the series, and things didn’t look good for LA. At this point, San Jose had controlled most of the play and chances and were pressuring hard. With under 2 minutes remaning and Stuart and Vlasic in the box, the Kings would fight back. Dustin Brown would tie the game and exactly 20 seconds later Trevor Lewis would make himself a hero. The Sharks win 4-3 on a later game surge, and take the series lead, 2-0.
SENSHOT 3 STARS
1 – Trevor Lewis
2 – Dustin Brown
3 – Drew Doughty