The Sharks poured on the pressure to start the third period, but couldn’t produce the go-ahead goal. The Kings pressured the Sharks later in the frame, but couldn’t score either. Kings goalie Jonathan Quick had to come up with a couple of big saves late in the period. San Jose’s Antti Niemi stopped Dustin Penner and then Anze Kopitar on a bang-bang sequence to keep the score tied. The Kings will start sudden-death overtime down two men after penalties to Robyn Regehr and Trevor Lewis. Two-man advantage plus a fresh sheet of ice could be a lethal combination for the Sharks to start OT.
There was no scoring in a hard-hitting second period, which was probably just fine with the injury-depleted Sharks. Martin Havlat couldn’t return to the game after playing in the first period for the first time since San Jose’s victory over the Vancouver Canucks in Game 1 of their first-round series. Scott Hannan went to the Sharks’ dressing room with an injury and Logan Couture followed a few minutes later. Couture returned to the ice later in the period, but Hannan did not. Jonathan Quick made several excellent saves for the Kings and Antti Niemi did the same for the Sharks, setting up a nerve-jangling third period.
The Kings were aided by a delay of game penalty in the closing minutes of Game 2. They were hurt by one to defenseman Jake Muzzin in the opening minutes of Game 3. Joe Pavelski won a faceoff cleanly from Anze Kopitar and Sharks defenseman Dan Boyle scored on a perimeter shot to give San Jose a 1-0 lead. Sharks defenseman Brad Stuart’s errant clearing attempt proved costly later in the period, with Kings rookie Tyler Toffoli picking it off and scoring on a beautiful backhander.
Here’s more from my interview with Kings radio analyst Daryl Evans, a former player who scored the winning goal in overtime in “The Miracle on Manchester” in the 1982 playoffs against the Edmonton Oilers. Evans looked back on the Kings’ late rally for a 4-3 victory over the San Jose Sharks in Game 2 of their second-round series Thursday.
“The Kings had a lot of chances in the third period,” Evans said. “They got a lot of pucks to the net, but it wasn’t until that last part there that I think they led everybody to believe there was a chance they could tie things up. Getting the first penalty, the power play, I think at that point I felt there was a legitimate chance.
“The Kings’ power play already connected once in the game. They had some momentum going and I thought that would be an opportunity for them. I didn’t expect to see another penalty just shortly thereafter. Once they scored that first goal, it’s so important the shift after a goal, whether you’ve scored on or whether you’re the team that scores, the Kings took advantage of that moment. It’s definitely one of those ones.
“It happens so quick. When you scored that first one, everyone says, ‘Oh, it looks like we’re going to go to overtime.’ You blink your eyes and sit in your seat again and all of a sudden it’s, ‘Well, now we’ve got hang onto this one.’ It was a great comeback. Good to be on the right end of it. I’m sure there are some other ones. The thing you have to look upon is the way it sways a series.
“As an individual game, that’s one big impact. But take a look at this one. If San Jose hangs on and wins that game, it’s 1-1 now (in the series). All of a sudden, it’s a whole different series. It’s a three out five. But it was a little bit of reflection. Look back a couple of years ago when San Jose came back from four goals down at Staples Center and beat the Kings at that time.”
The Kings and the San Jose Sharks were expected to make changes to their lineups for Game 3 of their second-round playoff series at 6 p.m. tonight at HP Pavilion. The Kings led the best-of-7 series 2-0 after winning the first two games at Staples Center.
Tanner Pearson, a rookie who has yet to play in an NHL game, skated on the Kings’ fourth line with Brad Richardson and Colin Fraser during the morning skate. It also appeared defenseman Keaton Ellerby would replace Alec Martinez for Game 3.
Anze Kopitar had to get 20 stitches above his left upper lip where he was hit by a puck shot by Dustin Brown in the third period of last night’s game. He returned to the game, which according to him, was no big deal.
“I wanted to make sure it was nothing serious,” Kopitar said. “As soon as I found that out, it was really a no-brainer to come back. I’m sure everybody else in this room would do the same thing.”
On the contrary. But that’s the culture in hockey. Players play, puck to the face or not.
Sutter joked: “there goes the modeling career. Best-looking Slovenian athlete.”
And Kopitar responded: “I think that ship has sailed a long time ago.”
Center Jarret Stoll continues to suffer from concussion symptoms and is mostly likely out for the rest of the Kings’ second-round playoff series. He was told to stay at home and rest rather than attend the Kings’ 4-3 victory over the San Jose Sharks in Game 2 on Thursday night. He won’t travel with the team to San Jose for Game 3 on Saturday. Stoll was injured by Raffi Torres’ shoulder-to-head check in Game 2. Torres was suspended by the NHL for the rest of the series.
Kyle Clifford skated with a large group of call-ups from the Kings’ American Hockey League affiliate, the Manchester (N.H.) Monarchs for the third day. But Kings coach Darryl Sutter said Clifford hasn’t been cleared for contact. Clifford has sat out the last three games, including the first two of the Kings’ second-round playoff series against the San Jose Sharks, because of an upper-body injury.
It remains to be seen what impact the Kings’ rally to win Game 2 of their second-round playoff series has the rest of the way. It seemed to energize them immediately after the game and to deflate the San Jose Sharks. Daryl Evans is perhaps uniquely qualified to talk about what rallies do for a team in the playoffs.
“It was a great comeback,” said Evans, a Kings radio analyst who knows a thing or two about comebacks as the man who scored the winning goal in overtime to cap “The Miracle,” a 6-5 win over the Edmonton Oilers on April 10, 1982 at the Forum.
Here’s what Kings coach Darryl Sutter said when asked about a 4-3 victory that gave them a 2-0 lead over the San Jose Sharks in their best-of-7 second-round series: “You have to win a lot of different ways. I don’t think there’s a consistent pattern to it at all. It’s like taking tonight and going to the last game. What was the difference between tonight and last game? I didn’t like how many penalties we took. Our penalty-killing did a good job. The power play came through for us. But every game is different.”