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San Jose Sharks coach Todd McLellan had this to say about his team’s offensive effort against the Kings and goaltender Jonathan Quick during Game 5: “I didn’t think we tested him a lot tonight. There were a number of goalies in the league that could have performed that way tonight. Maybe his best save was his last one on (Joe) Pavelski coming across the crease when we had the goaltender pulled (in the final seconds). Other than that, he didn’t have to work hard. If you’re evaluating him, and that’s not my job, but he probably had better games and didn’t win.”
Sometimes news stories fall through the cracks for whatever reason. This is one of them. Jonathan Quick passed Kelly Hrudey to become the winningest goaltender in Kings history when he shut out the San Jose Sharks in Game 5 on Thursday night. Quick has 27 victories in his career as the Kings’ goalie, topping Hrudey’s 26.
“What Kelly mean to this organization 20 years ago was pretty impressive,” Quick said. “Everything he accomplished here … I’ve gotten a chance to know him and he’s a great guy, loves hockey. I remember watching him when I was growing up. He was very competitive and hated to lose. Being able to pass him on that list, it’s an accomplishment.”
Jarret Stoll went for his first skate Friday morning since he suffered a head injury in Game of the Kings’ second-round playoff series against the San Jose Sharks. Kings coach Darryl Sutter said there is no timetable for the veteran center’s return to the lineup. Stoll was injured when the Sharks’ Raffi Torres knocked him out of Game 1 with an illegal shoulder-to-head check. Torres was suspended for the rest of the series by the NHL.
The Kings wanted a better start. They got it.
They wanted to dictate the play to the San Jose Sharks. They did it.
They wanted an early lead. Well, two out of three wasn’t bad.
KINGS 1, SHARKS 0
Anze Kopitar’s rebound goal with 1:52 left in the period finally broke the scoreless game where the Kings continued to dominate, but failed to push anything across. Kyle Clifford and Rob Scuderi were given the assists in a scramble that saw Sharks goalie Antti Niemi lose his stick, then get handed one by a teammate just as Kopitar put it in. It was Kopitar’s first goal of the series and second in 11 playoff games – this for someone with 20 points in 20 playoff games last year. The Sharks went nearly 15 minutes without a shot spanning the first to second period. A Kyle Clifford penalty gave the Sharks another prime scoring opportunity but to no avail. The Kings have the shot advantage, 18-11 and will start the third period on the power play thanks to a TJ Galiardi crosscheck penalty on Kings goalie Jonathan Quick. The Kings also have more than twice as many hits recorded than the Sharks, 39-18.
KINGS 0, SHARKS 0
The Kings’ defenseman set the tone early and played a key factor in keeping the puck away from Jonathan Quick and crashing the net on Antti Niemi, keeping the pressure on the Sharks zone. Jeff Carter’s missed open net was about the best scoring chance the Kings had all period. Carter also drew the period’s only penalty due to a check after a whistle blew that he apparently did not hear. The Kings outshot the Sharks, 9-6, and won on the hits, 24-12. And a shot of Tom Cruise on the scoreboard video got almost no reaction.
The Kings are having a fundrasier to benefit the Red Cross Tornado relief efforts at the Kings Care booth in the main concourse tonight. The Kings are matching all donations made plus adding an additional $10,000. Nice assist!
Kings coach Darryl Sutter was bound and determined to shake things up for what loomed as a pivotal Game 5 of their second-round playoff series Thursday against the San Jose Sharks at Staples Center. How much actual shaking remained to be seen, however.
For starters, hard-nosed left winger Kyle Clifford was expected to move from a checking line to a skilled line to join center Anze Kopitar and right wing Justin Williams. Team captain Dustin Brown appeared to be shifted to a checking line to join center Trevor Lewis and left wing Dwight King.
Winger Dustin Penner was set to play with center Mike Richards and winger Jeff Carter.
“Every game is desperate this time of year, but Game 5 is a pivotal game in a long series,” Brown said of trying to break a two-victories-apiece deadlock in the best-of-7 series. “You look at the last series, we squeaked one out in St. Louis and it just brings momentum.
“You have that mental edge going into Game 6. We’re on home ice. It’s important for us to prepare to do the right things to give us a chance to win. … Probably the biggest difference (in Sutter’s new line combinations) is me playing on the right side.”
The Kings won Games 1 and 2 at Staples Center, but then dropped the next two by matching scores of 2-1 at HP Pavilion in San Jose. Game 6 is Sunday in San Jose. Game 7, if necessary, would be played Tuesday at Staples Center.
The Kings were 5-0 at home in the playoffs going into Game 5, but only 1-4 on the road.
The Kings are 20-0 in the playoffs the last two seasons when scoring two goals or more in a game. They are 2-8 when scoring one goal or no goals. All five of their losses the last two postseasons have been by scores of 2-1, including all four this year. Crack research provided by the NHL via the Elias Sports Bureau.