Here’s what San Jose forward Logan Couture said after the Sharks eliminated the Kings with a 6-3 victory in the decisive Game 5 of their first-round series Friday at Staples Center: “I wonder if they got us right where they want us right now.”
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.
KINGS vs. SHARKS
Records: Kings 48-26-6, 102 points (second in the Pacific Division); Sharks 46-30-6, 98 points (third in the Pacific).
Season series: Sharks 3-1-1.
Results: Sharks won 5-1, Oct. 7 at Los Angeles; Kings won 4-1, Oct. 22 at San Jose; Sharks won 5-3, Dec. 22 at Los Angeles; Kings won 3-2 (OT), Jan. 24 at San Jose; Sharks won 5-2, March 28 at San Jose.
Kings leading scorers: Center Anze Kopitar (25 goals, 49 assists), center Jeff Carter (24 goals, 38 assists), right wing Tyler Toffoli (31 goals, 27 assists).
Sharks leading scorers: Center Joe Thornton (19 goals, 63 assists), right wing Joe Pavelski (38 goals, 40 assists), defenseman Brent Burns (27 goals, 48 assists).
Kings top goalie: Jonathan Quick (40-23-5, 2.22 goals-against average, .918 save percentage, 5 shutouts).
Sharks top goalie: Martin Jones (37-23-4, 2.27 goals-against average, .918 save percentage, 6 shutouts.)
Game 1: Staples Center, Thursday, 7:30 p.m., CNBC
Game 2: Staples Center, Saturday, 7:30 p.m., NBCSN
Game 3: San Jose, April 18, 7:30 p.m., NBCSN
Game 4: San Jose, April 20, 7:30 p.m., USA
Game 5 (if necessary): Staples Center, April 22, TBD, TBD
Game 6 (if necessary): San Jose, April 24, TBD, TBD
Game 7 (if necessary): Staples Center. April 26, TBD, TBD
Here’s a link to the explanation from the NHL’s department of player safety: http://video.nhl.com/videocenter/console?catid=60&id=840482&lang=en.