The hashtags and catchphrases were skipping through cyberspace within a half-hour of Devin Setoguchi’s goal at 3:09 of overtime: “The Failure on Figueroa.”
After squandering a 4-0, second-period lead, the Kings’ 6-5 overtime loss in Game 3 to the San Jose Sharks can be seen as nothing less.
“We’ve got to look at what happened in the second (period), learn from it,” a despondent Kings captain Dustin Brown said, “because we don’t have the type of team that can take periods off, especially at this time of year.”
Apparently the Sharks do — a revelation that may ultimately prove the difference in the series.
Antti Niemi was pulled after allowing four goals on 10 shots, the last of which came 44 seconds into the second period on a Brad Richardson wrister.
Somehow, inexplicably, the Sharks shed the ghosts of postseasons past by scoring five goals over the remainder of the second period. Only a backdoor, breakaway tally by Ryan Smyth interrupted the onslaught and kept the teams tied at 5 heading into the third period.
“[It was] puck management,” Brown said. “We needed to get the puck deep on them. They’re a fast offensive team and we gave them chances and plays. They can find lanes and open areas to get some goals, and that’s kind of what happened with the overtime goal. They transitioned it from their end, and it was pretty quick.”
Like ripping off a band-aid, Setoguchi’s first goal of the series provided a stinging, decisive conclusion to a back-and-forth game.
The question now: How deep do the Kings’ emotional wounds run?
“It stings right now,” Kings defenseman Matt Greene said. “We got to let it go though right away. You give yourself tonight, you feel bad about it, but tomorrow’s a new day.”
Terry Murray didn’t hold back with some of his postgame comments. A question about whether he considered changing goalies — he didn’t –eventually led the coach to say, “the attention was there but we for some reason refused to do what we were supposed to do.” Of the second period, he said, “That’s as bad as it gets for sure.”
Conversely, Sharks head coach Todd McLellan was in rare light-hearted form. “We’re excited about it,” he said, “but we also know the mulligan that we used tonight won’t be available to us again.” His explanation of the shift in momentum: “We had nothing to lose. We could have left here at seven to nothing and we still lost the game and we’d be down one. So we started to play loose, we started to roll lines a little bit more, we were better on our line changes, we got pucks in behind them. It started to go in our favor. You could feel it a little bit on the bench. The more we did it, the more we believed it could happen.”
The Staples Center scoreboard went blank, except for the live game feed, during the first intermission and the early portion of the second period. It came back on in time to properly note the Sharks’ third goal.
The Kings are now 10-23 all-time in playoff Game 3s.
San Jose was particularly dominant on faceoffs, none more so than the Joes, Thornton (15-7) and Pavelski (11-6). Michal Handzus went an abominable 1-14 on draws.
Willie Mitchell and Kyle Clifford scored goals 13 seconds apart in the first period. The club playoff record is 11 (Larry Robinson and Todd Elik on 4/22/90 against Edmonton).
The Kings are 5-10 in series in which they trailed 2-1 after three games.