Game 3 report: Kings 2, Sharks 1 (OT)

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.

Kyle Clifford talks about returning to the LA Kings lineup Thursday against the Ducks

Kings winger Kyle Clifford sat out for 24 games because of a concussion, but he was set to return to the lineup for Thursday’s game against the Ducks at Staples Center. He spent the All-Star break with the Ontario Reign of the American Hockey League in order to get sharp after a layoff that began was he was hurt Dec. 6.

“Just getting the timing back, getting a lot of minutes, getting playing, getting the detail and everything that goes with being a good, effective player,” Clifford told reporters in El Segundo of his short stint with the Reign over the weekend.


LA Kings send enforcer Kyle Clifford to Ontario of the AHL for a conditioning assignment

The Kings on Thursday assigned forward Kyle Clifford to the Ontario Reign of the American Hockey League for a conditioning assignment. He had three assists and 28 penalty minutes in 23 games before he suffered a concussion last month. He has been sidelined for 23 games, but recently began skating with his teammates while wearing a protective visor.

The Reign play the rival Gulls on Friday in San Diego.