The Los Angeles Kings tried to even their Western Conference First Round series against the San Jose Sharks at Staples Center on Saturday.
Although forward Vincent Lecavalier scored a late power-play goal with 5:01 left in the third period, San Jose managed to hold off the Kings 2-1 in Game 2 of the Western Conference first round.
Therefore, the Sharks will return to SAP Center on Monday with a 2-0 series lead.
The Sharks led the NHL during the regular season with 28 road wins; but were 18-20-3 at home.
Just like in Game 1, the Sharks were able to match the Kings’ physicality.
Joe Pavelski put on a show at Staples Center, as he opened the scoring with his third goal of the series and 29th career playoff goal. Pavelski fired a quick wrist shot that beat Jonathan Quick to give San Jose a 1-0 lead 3:37 into the first period. Brent Burns and Joe Thornton picked up the assists on Pavelski’s goal. What was special about this particular goal was that he didn’t put much thought into it. He just kind of knew where the puck was and shot it into the net.
Then, Logan Couture added to the lead in the second period. Patrick Marleau got the puck first, passed it to Thornton who passed it back to Marleau, then to Pavelski, but Couture cleaned up a rebound in front and shot a one-timer past a distant Jonathan Quick just 10 seconds into a 5-on-3 power play. The Sharks took a 2-0 lead at the 8:44 mark.
The Kings finally got on the board in the second period. At 1:07 of the power play, Vincent Lecavalier broke free above the left corner of the crease and hammered home a loose puck after an extensive scramble. However, his team continued to trail the Sharks 2-1 with 5:01 left in regulation.
No shutout for the Sharks, but the visiting team padded their lead by capitalizing on a power play in the second period. The Kings’ offense looked lifeless. Martin Jones made 26 saves for San Jose. Jonathan Quick finished with 21 saves.
The Kings had 41-27 advantage in faceoffs, but had 24 shots that missed the net entirely.
“We knew they were to going to ramp it up a level tonight,” captain Joe Pavelski said of the Kings. “That’s what this team does and guys showed up and under pressure, made a lot of good little plays. It allowed us to get in on the forecheck and allowed to create chances.”
“There was nowhere to hide out there,” head coach Peter DeBoer told Curtis Pashelka of San Jose Mercury News. “That’s a game where you’re going to pay a price every time you’re on the ice to win a battle, to get to the net, to defend.”
Sharks’ lineup remained the same for Game 2.
Kings winger Marian Gaborik has been medically cleared to play after he suffered a knee injury when he collided with New York Rangers’ forward Dominic Moore on February 12. Gaborik missed 28 games.
Kings defenseman Jamie McBain will make his playoff debut tonight with Alec Martinez out of the lineup due to an undisclosed injury. McBain has 345 games of NHL experience. He had nine points (2 g, 7 a) in 44 games this season.
Up Next: The opening round between the Sharks and Kings will shift to SAP Center Monday. Puck drop for Game 3 is scheduled for 7:30 pm PT on NBCSN, CBC, TVA and CSCA.