By: Nick Lanciani
The San Jose Sharks defeated the Los Angeles Kings 3-2 on Wednesday night on home ice at SAP Center in San Jose, California in Game 4 of their First Round playoff matchup. Martin Jones made 26 saves on 28 shots against for a .929 SV% en route to the win while Jonathan Quick made 26 saves on 29 shots against with a .897 SV% in the loss.
With no score after twenty minutes of play, San Jose and Los Angeles went into the second period scoreless. The Sharks were leading in shots on goal (11-8) and faceoff wins (9-8), while the Kings led in hits (21-16), giveaways (5-3) and blocked shots (8-7) after the first period. Neither team had an opportunity on the power play.
Brent Burns kicked off the scoring in the second period for the Sharks on the power play 2:09 into the period to give San Jose a 1-0 lead. Burns’ slap shot was assisted by Joel Ward (3) and Marc-Edouard Vlasic (1).
Matt Nieto was subsequently called for tripping at 2:33 of the period, thus giving the Kings their first power play opportunity of the night. Los Angeles was unable to convert on the power play and could not capitalize on another power play 5:26 into the second period, when San Jose’s Joel Ward caught Drew Doughty with a high stick.
At 8:42 of the 2nd, Los Angeles defenseman, Rob Scuderi tripped Sharks forward, Tomas Hertl and was sent to the penalty box for tripping. Almost a minute later, San Jose captain, Joe Pavelski fired one home on the power play for San Jose’s 2nd goal of the night and 2nd goal on the power play of the night. Pavelski’s fourth goal of the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs was assisted by Joe Thornton (2) and Patrick Marleau (2) at 9:21 of the 2nd period.
With the Sharks leading 2-0 late in the period, Luke Schenn was called for roughing Thornton, giving San Jose their third power play of the night. The penalty kill expired for Los Angeles at 19:30 and for the first time on Wednesday night, the Kings successfully killed off a penalty.
After two periods of play, San Jose led Los Angeles 2-0.
Just past the 90-second mark in the third period, Jamie McBain caught Joonas Donskoi with a high stick, sending the Sharks on their fourth power play of the night.
All San Jose needed was six seconds before Marleau beat Quick to give the Sharks a 3-0 lead with his first goal of the playoffs and San Jose’s 3rd power play goal of the night.
Logan Couture picked up his 2nd assist of the postseason and Burns picked up his 3rd assist of the playoffs on Marleau’s goal at 1:40 of the 3rd period.
But uneasiness quickly settled in as Kings forward, Trevor Lewis tipped in a shot past Jones at 2:49 of the period to cut the Sharks lead to two. Luke Schenn and Kris Versteeg both picked up their first assists of the postseason on Lewis’ 2nd goal of the series.
Schenn continued the hot hands and scored at 6:44 of the 3rd period to bring the Kings to within one goal of the Sharks, trailing 3-2, on his first of the series. Anze Kopitar and Marian Gaborik picked up the assists on Schenn’s tally.
Despite an onslaught of Los Angeles opportunities and the Kings pressing in every sense of the word, the Sharks held them off and sealed the 3-2 victory on home ice to give them a 3-1 series lead heading into Game 5. San Jose finished the night leading in shots on goal (29-28), faceoff wins (29-28), giveaways (17-13), takeaways (7-6) and blocked shots (25-18), while Los Angeles finished the game leading in hits (46-35).
The Sharks were 3/4 on the power play in Game 4 with all three of their goals having been on the man advantage and the Kings were 0/2 on the power play on Wednesday.
Kings defenseman, Alec Martinez, missed his third game in a row due to injury and has yet to be officially ruled out for Game 5.
Game 5 is scheduled for Friday night at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California, where the San Jose Sharks have the chance to eliminate the Los Angeles Kings on the road and advance to the Second Round of the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs.