By: Nick Lanciani
Los Angeles Kings forward, Tanner Pearson didn’t let anyone wait too long into overtime before he found the back of the net and scored the game winning goal at 3:47 of the overtime period in Game 3 to defeat the San Jose Sharks 2-1 at SAP Center on Monday night.
Jonathan Quick made 29 saves on 30 shots faced for a .967 SV% in the win, while Martin Jones turned aside 22 shots out of 24 shots on goal for a .917 SV% in the loss. Entering Game 3, Quick had a 3.08 GAA and a .870 SV% through Games 1 and 2 thus far. It was the fourth time in the history of all four playoff matchups between the Sharks and the Kings that Game 3 was decided in overtime.
Monday night’s action was also just the sixth overtime playoff game between San Jose and Los Angeles overall, with the Sharks having entered the night 5-1 overall versus the Kings in playoff OT.
Joe Thornton kicked the scoring off early for the Sharks on the game’s first shot on goal, 30 seconds into the first period. Thornton’s first goal of the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs gave San Jose the 1-0 lead and was assisted by Tomas Hertl (1). Thornton’s goal was also the 2nd fastest playoff goal in franchise history for the Sharks, barely missing Dany Heatley’s goal 28 seconds into the action on April 14, 2011. It was also the 2nd game in a row where San Jose scored on their first shot on goal.
Brayden McNabb was sent to the box for hooking Hertl at 5:33 of the first period, but the Sharks were unable to convert on their first power play of the night. Tommy Wingels took a hooking penalty a couple of minutes later at 7:50 of the first to give the Kings their first power play opportunity of the night.
Twenty seconds was all it took for the Kings power play to go to work and for Jake Muzzin to move the puck to Milan Lucic who found Anze Kopitar for the game tying goal at 8:10 of the opening frame of regulation. Kopitar’s goal was his first of the playoffs and just his 2nd point of the series so far, despite having put up 74 points in scoring during the regular season. For Lucic and Muzzin it was their 3rd and 2nd assists respectively on the goal.
Los Angeles’ success on the power play was short lived, though, as they were unable to convert on the rest of their man advantage chances the rest of the night, failing to yield full momentum at 11:50 of the first period on Nick Spaling’s tripping penalty.
By the end of twenty minutes it was 1-1, with the Kings outshooting the Sharks (13-7) and winning faceoffs (17-8), while San Jose led in hits (20-19), giveaways (8-4), takeaways (3-2) and blocked shots (8-5).
Aside from wasted power play opportunities for both teams in the second period, not much happened in the game. The pace had begun to settle in and both Quick and Jones were in their best goaltending matchup of the series thus far.
After forty minutes of play, the score was still 1-1 and the Kings led in shots (19-18), hits (37-30), faceoff wins (28-17) and blocked shots (14-10). The Sharks led in giveaways (14-4) and takeaways (6-3).
The third period worked its way slowly through the course of action as Lucic was sent to the box for slashing Justin Braun at 9:40 of the period, which the Sharks failed to convert on the ensuing power play.
Tanner Pearson sent the puck straight over the glass for a delay of game penalty at 14:04 of the period that puck the Kings on the penalty kill, but San Jose was unable to get many pucks on Quick as the Kings PK-unit began to block shots like crazy.
Finally at 19:06 of the third, Hertl and Dustin Brown roughed one another up and were sent to the box with coincidental roughing minors that would carry into overtime, should neither team score before then.
After regulation, the Sharks were leading in shots on goal (27-22), giveaways (16-7) and takeaways (9-4), while the Kings led in hits (56-39), faceoff wins (36-28) and blocked shots (25-17) after 60 minutes of play.
Upon an 18-minute intermission, both teams were raring to go at the commencement of overtime.
It didn’t take long before Pearson beat Jones and found the back of the twine and Vincent Lecavalier and Dustin Brown picked up the assists on the game winning goal that sent San Jose fans at SAP Center unhappily home. Los Angeles had won Game 3 and extending the road team’s winning streak in the series to three games.
After everything, the Sharks led in shots on goal (30-24), giveaways (17-8) and takeaways (11-5), while the Kings led in hits (61-39), faceoff wins (39-30) and blocked shots (27-18). Los Angeles went 1/5 on the night on the power play and San Jose went 0/5.
Of note, Kings forward, Kyle Clifford returned to the lineup for Game 3 and defenseman, Alec Martinez was still out of the lineup with an undisclosed injury. Milan Lucic was also bumped up to the first line for the game, alongside Kopitar and Marian Gaborik. The Sharks lineup was unchanged.
Game 4 is scheduled for Wednesday night at SAP Center in San Jose at 10:30 PM EST on USA Network in the United States and CBC as well as TVA Sports in Canada. The Sharks now have a 2-1 series lead heading into Wednesday night on home ice.