LOS ANGELES – The last time the Kings lost two straight games in a row, they responded with a shutout against the St. Louis Blues in round one of the 2013 postseason. Fast forward to round two and the Kings continued that same pattern as they defeated the San Jose Sharks 3-0 in game five of their second round series.
After two dominating games by the Sharks in San Jose, Los Angeles responded in game five with a late second period goal by Anze Kopitar and an early third period goal by Slava Voynov. Jeff Carter chipped in an empty net goal with 32 seconds remaining to secure the victory. The win continued a string of 13 in a row at Staples Center.
Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick was stellar stopping 24 San Jose shots to post his third shutout of the playoffs. Quick leads all regular playoff goaltenders with a 1.50 goals against average and 0.948 save percentage to go with his 7-4-2 2013 playoff record.
The game began with extremely tight checking and lots of hitting, a trademark of the entire series. Los Angeles held the edge in shots 9-6 in an evenly played first frame. Quick and Sharks goaltender Antii Niemi matched each other with quality saves throughout the first two periods. Los Angeles led the shots in the second period 9-5.
Los Angeles found the back of the net first with just under two minutes to play in the second period. Anze Kopitar drew the puck back to the left point where Rob Scuderi controlled and then passed to Kyle Clifford at the right point. Clifford sent a drive toward the San Jose net which ricocheted off several bodies before finding Anze Kopitar who stuffed the puck in to take the lead. It was Kopitar’s second of the playoffs, one in which he has been physically manhandled in the early-going.
The Staples Center was rocking after the late goal and it continued as the teams began the third period. Less than a minute into the final period, the Kings added to their slim lead.
Trevor Lewis took the draw to the left of the San Jose net. He drew the puck back to the right point where Slava Voynov fired a drive which Niemi never saw giving the Kings a 2-0 lead. It was Voynov’s fourth goal of the playoffs and fifth point, leading all Kings’ defensemen in scoring.
The rest of the period, the Sharks pushed to solve Quick, but could not. San Jose put more shots on net in the final period than they did in the first two periods. Los Angeles continued to lead the Sharks in overall shots finishing with a 29-24 edge.
The physical play ended up being the difference in the game though with Los Angeles leading in hits 51-24. It was clear the Kings wanted to establish play early and punish the Sharks in their own zone.
History favors the Kings as 79% of teams winning game five of a series go on to win the series.
Game six is Sunday at HP Pavilion in San Jose. Game time will be determined once the result of Friday night’s Game Five between Pittsburgh and Ottawa is known. Follow me on twitter at DMMORRELL