Joe Pavelski had a dominate game as he assisted the Sharks with a 4-3 win over the Los Angeles Kings to take a 1-0 series lead on Thursday night.
Early in the third period Pavelski circled out from behind the net while defending Anze Kopitar, to slide the goal in the net for the winning score.
“We lost the special team battles. We first and foremost took too many penalties,” Kopitar said. “You just can’t give them too much momentum. We have to do a better job of staying out of the box, and that our mistakes don’t result in to goals against. Obviously it’s not ideal to lose the first game, especially at home. We’ll correct a couple things, and we’ll get back at it on Saturday.”
Both teams had something to prove this post season since they both failed to make the playoffs last season.
The Kings came out on fire and focused when Jake Muzzin scored off the skate of Pavelski for the early 1-0 lead. Moments later Pavelski tied the game scoring the goal from the top of the left circle in front of goalie Jonathan Quick. This California series continued to maintain the edge and chippyness between both clubs, as the Sharks capitalized better on power play opportunities in this game.
Brent Burns pushed that goal through the gridlock and scored early in the second period. However Jeff Carter answered back, as he banked the goal of Paul Martin’s stick and goalie Martin Jones’ shoulder for the 2-2 tie on the power play. Trevor Lewis scored an unassisted short hand goal, while Tomas Hertl’s goal kept the Sharks in the game near the end of the period.
“I think every goal is a big momentum swing back and forth,” Burns said. “I think that takes a lot of energy out of a team when you score right away. That was a big shift. It was a big swing, but there’s a whole lot of game left. You take it, you go, and you keep going.”
The Kings defensive struggles carried over from the Winnipeg game when they allowed the Jets a victory and lost the division title on the last night of the regular season.
“Everyone can play better,” Dustin Brown said. “This is the time of year where you learn from it and go on, and we’ve got a lot left in us.”
The Kings may be down one game but are certainly not out of the series by a long shot. Remember in 2014, Los Angeles was on the brink of elimination down 0-3 in that series against the Sharks and managed to make a historic comeback for the ages to win the series and later on the Stanley Cup.
This talented Los Angeles team will make adjustments for game two, however this is a must win for them if they want to keep the Sharks on the toes when they head up to San Jose for games three and four.
Martin Jones made 21 saves in his first playoff win of his career at goalie for San Jose. Jonathan Quick made 19 saves in the loss for Los Angeles.
Game two will be on Saturday night at Staples Center.
Jeff Carter (1-0=1) scored his first goal of the playoffs and 38th of his postseason career. The goal also ties Carter for 2nd all-time among Kings players in power play goals (10; also Marcel Dionne and Dave Taylor).
Trevor Lewis (1-0=1) scored his 10th career playoff goal (first career postseason shorthanded goal). This marks the first shorthanded goal scored by the Kings since Anze Kopitar registered a SHG, May 22, 2012 at PHX.
Anze Kopitar (0-1=1) registered his 61st career postseason point.
Joel Ward had two assists for the Sharks
Milan Lucic had two for the Kings