Jonathan Quick was going to have to steal a game or two for the Kings to have a chance at advancing to the second round.
A couple more games like Saturday’s, and they could be in business.
Quick’s 51 saves in Game 5 set a franchise playoff record and allowed the Kings to stave off elimination. His counterpart, Antti Niemi, could scarcely have been worse, allowing three goals on the Kings’ first four shots. Wayne Simmonds and Dustin Penner got their first goals of the playoffs, while Kyle Clifford got his third.
The Kings’ 52 shots allowed were also a record, but the Sharks couldn’t do much with them. One reason was the Kings’ success in the faceoff circle: 31-25 as a team, highlighted by a 15-2 record by Jarret Stoll. Another reason was the lack of odd-man rushes for the Sharks, as the Kings succeeded in plugging the holes in front of Quick.
“It was just more of a home plate attitude,” Quick said. “They kept a lot of the guys out — a lot of the shots were from the perimeter, limited their Grade-A chances from last time.”
Mostly, however, it was Quick. Acrobatic at times and always calm, he made 19 saves in the first period, 15 in the second and 18 in the third.
The series shifts back to Staples Center on Monday at 7 p.m.
A few more notes and observations:
Scott Parse played his first game since Nov. 15. He played a mostly forgettable 9:49, but also wasn’t seen out of position, the primary concern with a player who hasn’t played in six months. Alexei Ponikarovsky came out and only the Clifford-Brad Richardson-Simmonds line stayed the same.
That line finished plus-3 with two goals and three assists. “It’s great to see your young guys step up in a pressure situation like this,” Kings head coach Terry Murray said.
Penner dropped to a line with Stoll and Kevin Westgarth, and it was Westgarth who collected his second assist of the series on Penner’s goal, a long wrist shot that ended Niemi’s night.
Kings head coach Terry Murray, on the transformation from Games 3 and 4, in which the Kings allowed six goals: “The whole conversation, all the conversations we had with our team were about the checking part of the game,” Murray said. “When you control the defensive part of the game, you’re going to recover some pucks, you’re going to get opportunities to attack.”