Key play: Joe Pavelski outhustled and outmuscled Anze Kopitar as he swept around the Kings’ net to score the tiebreaking goal 17 seconds into the third period and the San Jose Sharks took a 4-3 victory in Game 1 of their first-round playoff series Thursday at Staples Center.
Pivotal performer: Pavelski scored two goals and was impossible for the Kings to contain in both teams return to the postseason after a one-season absence. He had three shots on net and was credited with three that missed the mark in 19:16 of ice time.
Quote, unquote: “You can’t give them too much momentum,” Kopitar said of the Sharks. “We have to do a better job of staying out of the box and that our mistakes don’t result in goals. (The Kings must) limit their time and space (and) make sure we check them correctly. At the same time, make them defend too. We didn’t do a good enough job. We have to correct that.”
Injury update: Kings defenseman Alec Martinez returned to the lineup after suffering an undisclosed injury that sidelined him for the final four regular-season games. Martinez was scoreless in 11:43 in Game 1, and did not play in the third period.
Between the pipes: Jonathan Quick started for the Kings, as expected, and made 19 saves in his 77th career playoff start. Martin Jones, Quick’s backup before the Kings traded him last spring, had 21 saves in his first start in the playoffs.