Game 3; SJ leads series 3-0
LOS ANGELES - Despite giving up the game's first goal, the Los Angeles Kings came out with a much stronger effort in Game 3, giving their home fans something to get excited about. Unfortunately, even despite an early onslaught in overtime, the Kings fall on a Patrick Marleau knuckleballer that now has the San Jose Sharks on the precipice of sweeping their SoCal rivals.
Just 3:16 into the contest, with San Jose on the power play, they scored thanks to a Brent Burns wristshot. The goal was Burns's second of the postseason from Joe Thornton and Dan Boyle. That would be all the scoring in the first but in the second, the home team answered.
The Kings found themselves on the power play in the early stages of the second when Jarret Stoll one-timed his first of the playoffs past Antti Niemi to tie it. After not appearing in the opening two games, the veteran was put on the power play unit in Game 3 and the move paid off. Stoll's marker was scored at 4:16 from Tyler Toffoli and Drew Doughty. But the Kings weren't done there.
Just over three minutes later, Marian Gaborik made a wonderful individual effort to get to the net before backhanding it past Niemi to give Los Angeles their first lead of the night. For someone who roared onto the Hollywood scene with a vengeance, was quiet in the opening two games of this series. But Gaborik came out in a big way, rocking the Staples Center to its foundation.
But just 1:18 later, the native of nearby Long Beach, Matt Nieto, tipped in a Jason Demers point shot to tie the game. The Sharks and Kings were now entering a very critical third period.
In the third, the Kings jumped out in front right off the bat as Jeff Carter tipped in his first of the postseason to regain the lead. Anze Kopitar took the initial shot while Drew Doughty supplied the second assist. Staples Center was alive again. But again, the Sharks were able to equalize.
There was a mad scramble in front of Jonathan Quick and rookie Tomas Hertl potted his second of the playoffs at the 9:17 mark to tie the game. Suddenly, the Sharks had the momentum.
Jarret Stoll, however, took a penalty with just 1:58 remaining in the third to give the Sharks an all-too-critical man-advantage that could have won the game. But Jonathan Quick and the team's exceptional penalty-killing unit were having none of it as they killed off the penalty entering overtime.
In the extra frame, the Kings came out with all the power, firing five shots on Niemi in the opening minutes but just couldn't bury any of their chances. Then, at the 6:20 mark, with San Jose in the attacking zone, Patrick Marleau fluttered a knuckleball that fooled Jonathan Quick. Game. Set. Match. On their first shot in overtime, the San Jose Sharks win it to take a 3-0 strangehold on this series.
Like in Games 1 and 2, the Kings were outshot in Game 3 (40-31). But the silver-and-black did counter with a much stronger effort on Tuesday than they did in the previous two games, especially with players like Stoll, Gaborik and Carter all scoring their firsts of the playoffs. The Kings also outhit San Jose (53-45) for the first time this series. Unfortunately, turnovers, missed opportunities and bad bounces did the Kings in on this night - and let's not forget that they are playing a very tough (and deep) Sharks team.
With the loss, the Kings find themselves down 3-0 in the series for the first time since 2000 when they ultimately got swept by the Detroit Red Wings. If there is any silver lining to this situation, it's that the last time an NHL team came back from 0-3 to win a series was in 2010 when the Philadelphia Flyers upset the Boston Bruins. It is notable to mention that the Flyers did have Jeff Carter and Mike Richards on their side during said comeback. Unfortunately, there's not much to feel good about in Los Angeles right now as the Kings can only hope to extend the series on Thursday night and, at the very least, avoid the sweep.