Key play: Joonas Donskoi scored the tiebreaking goal early in the third period and the San Jose Sharks went on to take a 6-3 victory Friday over the Kings in the decisive Game 5 of the first-round series at Staples Center. Donskoi chipped the puck into the net after a nifty pass from Brent Burns.
The series: The Sharks eliminated the Kings 4-1 and advanced to the second round.
Pivotal performer: Sharks winger Joe Pavelski added an insurance goal for his series-leading fifth of the series. Pavelski and linemates Joe Thornton and Tomas Hertl proved to be too much for the Kings to handle during the series, and were the difference makers over the course of five games.
Quote, unquote: “The bottom line is we didn’t play well enough to win the series, and they did,” Kings center Anze Kopitar said. “It showed on the scoreboard. We were chasing the lead pretty much every game. That’s just not the way you play in the playoffs. We made it hard on ourselves, first of all, to lose the first two games in this building. I just feel our game was not where we needed it to be.”
Quote, unquote (part 2): “Yes, 100 percent,” Kings left wing Milan Lucic said when asked if he planned to re-sign with the Kings rather than test the open market as an unrestricted free agent July 1. “I don’t have any plans about thinking about or playing anywhere else. I’m sure there will be a lot of conversations in the near future and I hope it works out for both sides.”
Between the pipes: Jonathan Quick made 22 saves and fell 1-4 during the series. Martin Jones, who served as Quick’s backup until the Kings traded him last summer, made 19 saves to improve to 4-1 in his first five starts in the playoffs after making two relief appearances in 2014 against the Sharks.
Key play: Patrick Marleau scored the last of the Sharks’ three power-play goals and San Jose held on for a 3-2 victory Wednesday in Game 4 of their first-round playoff series against the Kings at the SAP Center. Marleau backhanded a rebound into the net at 1:40 of the final period.
The series: The Sharks lead 3-1. Game 5 is Friday at Staples Center.
Pivotal performer: San Jose defenseman Brent Burns scored the Sharks’ first power-play goal, whistling a one-timed shot from the left faceoff circle past Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick. Burns also assists on Marleau’s goal, which turned out to be the game-winner.
Quote, unquote: “Our penalty-kill wasn’t near good enough,” said Kings defenseman Luke Schenn, who was on the ice for Burns’ goal “Special teams made a huge difference. Our special teams need to improve if we’re going to climb back in it.”
Status quo: Kings coach Darryl Sutter and San Jose counterpart Peter DeBoer stayed with the same lineups for Game 4 that they used in Game 3. DeBoer indicated dissatisfaction with his fourth line after Game 3, but stuck with Nick Spaling, Chris Tierney and Tommy Wingels for Game 4.
Key play: Tanner Pearson picked up a loose puck along the left-wing boards and then converted on a 2-on-1 break to score the winning goal 3:47 into sudden-death overtime to give the Kings a 2-1 victory Monday over the San Jose Sharks in Game 3 of their first-round series.
The series: The Sharks lead was cut to 2-1. Game 4 is Wednesday at the SAP Center.
Pivotal performer: Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick gave up a goal to Joe Thornton on the Sharks’ first shot of the game, after only 30 seconds. Quick then stopped the next 28 shots he faced in a vintage performance from the 2012 Conn Smythe winner as the MVP of the playoffs.
Quote, unquote: “Not the start we wanted, obviously,” Pearson said. “We trust each other that we’re going to come back. Look over the years at what this team has done. … It’s a confident group when our backs are against the wall. We’re still there. We’ve got to fight back to even the series.”
Injury update: Kings defenseman Alec Martinez sat out for the second consecutive game and for the sixth time in the last seven games because of an undisclosed injury. Defenseman Matt Greene continues to skate with his teammates, but there’s no timetable for his return from shoulder surgery.
Lineup shuffle: Kings coach Darryl Sutter returned left wing Kyle Clifford to the lineup after replacing him with Nick Shore for Game 2. Clifford, Trevor Lewis and Kris Versteeg combined to form an effective fourth line for Sutter for Game 3.
Key play: Logan Couture’s power-play goal proved to be the difference for the San Jose Sharks in a 2-1 victory Saturday over the Kings in Game 2 of their first-round playoff series at Staples Center. Couture’s second-period putback of Joe Pavelski’s initial try propelled the Sharks to a 2-0 series lead.
Pivotal performer: Pavelski gave the Sharks a 1-0 lead only 3:37 in the game, his third goal in two contests in the best-of-7 series. He also assisted on Couture’s game-winning goal to give him a series-leading four points. He had three shots on goal and won seven of eight faceoffs.
Quote, unquote: “We’ve got to do a better job of getting traffic and getting guys to the net, fighting through box-outs and getting those second- and third-chance opportunities,” Kings left wing Lucic said. “Right now, we’re not doing a good enough job of it. We need to figure it out quick if we want to turn things around. We’ve got to stop playing with frustration and start playing with determination.”
Welcome back: Right wing Marian Gaborik returned to the Kings’ lineup for the first time since spraining his right knee Feb. 12. He was scoreless on four shots on goal in 14:32, playing with a variety of linemates as Kings coach Darryl Sutter mixed and matched his combinations.
Injury update: Kings defenseman Alec Martinez did not play after he was forced from Game 1 after two periods because of an undisclosed injury. Martinez sat out the final four regular-season games because an unspecified injury. His status for Game 3 is unknown. Jamie McBain took Martinez’s spot in the lineup.
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.
Key play: Mark Scheifele scored the only goal in a shootout and the Winnipeg Jets rallied for a 4-3 victory Saturday over the Kings at Staples Center. Scheifele fired a shot past Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick in the second round.
Pivotal performer: Left wing Milan Lucic set up Kings teammate Tanner Pearson’s first-period goal with an alert cross-ice pass from along the left wing boards. Lucic’s assist was his 35th of the season, tying his career high. He had 35 while with the Boston Bruins in 2013-14 and 2011-12.
Quote, unquote: “We’re going to have to change our attitude before the playoffs start or else we’re not going to last long,” defenseman Jake Muzzin said after the Kings squandered a three-goal lead. “Everyone’s got to buy in. Everyone’s got to dig down and do their job.”
Between the pipes: Quick made his 68th appearance of the season and looked to extend his franchise record for victories to 41. He made 28 saves in regulation plus overtime. Ondrej Pavelec played for the 33rd time for the Jets, who failed to qualify for the playoffs. He made 26 saves plus three more in the shootout.
Injury updates: Kings defenseman Alec Martinez sat out for the fourth game because of an injury the team has declined to disclose. Winger Marian Gaborik (knee) and defenseman Matt Greene (shoulder) skated with their teammates for at least part of their morning skate.
Key play: Kris Versteeg tapped in a rebound of his own shot off the crossbar for the tiebreaking goal 2:01 into the second period and the Kings regained first place in the Pacific Division with a 2-1 victory Thursday over the Ducks at Staples Center.
Playoff update: The Kings can win their first division championship since 1990-91 with a victory Saturday over the Winnipeg Jets in their regular-season finale. The Ducks would then finish second. The San Jose Sharks’ 5-4 loss to Winnipeg locked them into third.
Pivotal performer: Ducks goaltender John Gibson made several quality saves, but none better than a stop with his left leg on an unmarked Anze Kopitar early in the third period. Kopitar slipped behind the Ducks’ defense, but couldn’t beat Gibson from point-blank range.
Between the pipes: Kings goalie Jonathan Quick made his 67th appearance of the season and set a franchise record with his 40th victory of 2015-16. Gibson started for the sixth consecutive game in place of the injured Frederik Andersen (concussion).
Quote, unquote: “We want to win without having to score four or five goals,” Kings defenseman Drew Doughty said. “We want to win games only letting in one and we were able to do that tonight against a really good team that has kind of owned us this season. … That’s the only reason we beat them, because we played good defense.”
Kings injury update: Defenseman Alec Martinez sat out for the third game because of what the Kings referred to as an undisclosed injury. Martinez also didn’t play in a loss Monday to the Vancouver Canucks and a victory Tuesday over the Calgary Flames.
Ducks injury update: Andersen didn’t play for the fourth game because of a concussion suffered in a victory March 30 over the Calgary Flames. Andersen said he hopes to play in one of the Ducks’ final two regular-season games.
Key play: Blake Wheeler scored 3:07 into overtime and the Winnipeg Jets rallied from a one-goal deficit to take a 2-1 victory Tuesday over the Ducks at the Honda Center. The Ducks dominated the play in OT, hanging on to the puck for extended stretches, but Wheeler scored on a counterattack.
Playoff update: The Ducks (44-24-11, 99 points) are tied with the Kings (47-28-5, 99 points) in standings points, but lead because they have played one fewer game. The Ducks and Kings play Thursday at Staples Center. The Ducks have three regular-season games to play and the Kings have two.
Pivotal performer: Ducks right wing Corey Perry tapped in a rebound of a Ryan Getzlaf shot off the goal post for his team-leading 33rd goal of the season, at 13:33 of the first period. Perry has four goals and six points in his past eight games.
Quote, unquote: “Until the third period I thought we were just playing to play with them,” Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau said. “We weren’t pushing like we were against Dallas. I thought we played better in the third period and in the overtime. But when the best faceoff player in the league (Ducks center Ryan Kesler) loses a draw and you don’t cover the guy (Winnipeg left wing Marko Dano) in front of the net, bad things happen (and the Jets scored the tying goal).”
Injury update: Ducks defenseman Simon Despres (upper body) returned to the lineup after sitting out six games. The Ducks were without Frederik Andersen (concussion), Kevin Bieksa (upper body), David Perron (shoulder), Brandon Pirri (upper body) and Rickard Rakell (appendectomy).
Key play: Ryan Kesler scored a shorthanded goal 10 seconds into the third period, converting on a centering pass from teammate Jakob Silfverberg, and the Ducks went on to take a 3-1 victory Sunday from the Dallas Stars at the Honda Center.
Playoff update: The Ducks (44-24-10, 98 points) leapfrogged the idle Kings (46-27-5, 97 points) and moved into first place in the Pacific Division. The teams each have four regular-season games remaining, including a showdown Thursday against each other at Staples Center.
Pivotal performer: Center Nate Thompson scored his third goal in as many games, beating Stars goaltender Antti Niemi on a breakaway while the Ducks were shorthanded in the second period. Thompson intercepted a pass from Stars defenseman John Klingberg and skated in alone.
Milestone moment: Ducks left wing Andrew Cogliano played in his 700 th consecutive game, the longest active streak in the NHL. Cogliano’s streak also is the sixth-longest streak in league history. Doug Jarvis set the Ironman standard with 964 consecutive games played between 1975 and 1987.
Quote, unquote: “It was our best game in a month,” Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau said. “We were a pretty determined group. We knew what their strengths were. I thought we put together a good game plan and the players executed it really well.”
Injury update: Ducks goalie Frederik Andersen sat out for the second game because of a concussion. Boudreau said Andersen took shots during a morning workout. John Gibson started his fourth consecutive game and Anton Khudobin served as his backup.
Key play: Emerson Etem scored the tiebreaking goal in the third period and the Vancouver Canucks held on for a 3-2 victory Friday over the Ducks at the Honda Center. Etem, a former Ducks right wing and a Long Beach native, scored for only the fourth time in 54 games this season.
Playoff update: The Ducks (43-24-10, 96 points) squandered a chance to leapfrog the Kings and take over first place in the Pacific Division. The Kings (46-26-5, 97 points) face the Dallas Stars today at Staples Center, with a chance to pad their lead.
Quote, unquote: “It’s a game we should have won,” Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau said. “We should have had two points. You need 20 guys playing and we didn’t have 20 going. … We definitely didn’t play a 60-minute game. We haven’t played a 60-minute game in a while.”
Milestone approaching: Ducks left wing Andrew Cogliano played in his 699th consecutive, the longest active streak in the NHL and the sixth-longest in league history. He’s expected to play in his 700th straight game Sunday, when the Ducks play host to the Stars.
Injury updates: The Canucks began the game with only 11 healthy forwards, shifting defenseman Andrey Pedan to left wing. Then they lost left wing Chris Higgins to a lower-body injury and right wing Linden Vey to an upper-body injury, dropping the number to nine.