Every San Jose forward recorded at least two points in the team’s two playoff victories over the Kings, a testament to the depth the Sharks have developed after years of featuring two strong lines and a bunch of moving parts.
While top-six forward Joe Pavelski led the Sharks in scoring in the first two games with one goal and four points, the performances of the third and fourth lines were instrumental in helping San Jose win those first two games before the series shifts to Staples Center for Game 3 Tuesday night.
One key has been Tomas Hertl’s recovery from a knee injury and his return to the third line, alongside James Sheppard and Tommy Wingels. That has left Raffi Torres, Andrew Desjardins and Mike Brown on the fourth line, and they’ve produced three goals and six points.
“We need to chip in any way we can,” said Torres, who missed the last 17 games of the regular season because of a knee injury.
“If our big guns are our best players on any given night, we’re going to win a lot of games. For us, as third- and fourth-line guys, we all know our role: Don’t get scored on, keep a short shift, create some trouble for the opposing D and make it hard on them so when the big guns get out there, they can take advantage of it.”
But even Torres acknowledged that the Sharks are surprised that they scored 13 goals in two games against the Kings, who allowed the fewest goals during the regular season.
“It’s kind of weird happening like that,” Torres said. “We’ve got the mentality in this room that we’re down two games. That’s what we’ve got to have, like we’re the ones that got blown out of games a couple times.
“So I think if we get together and realize those are a couple weird games and it’s probably not going to happen again — we’ll probably be lucky if we get a couple tonight, we know [Jonathan] Quick is going to bounce back — we’ll be ready to go.”
Sharks Coach Todd McLellan echoed that sentiment in discussing the wide distribution of scoring so far.
“We’re happy for that, obviously, after two games. There’s no way we predicted that, or that amount of goals,” he said.
“Our mind-set is going back to what we expected. We’re going to go to that, we’re going to play off of that as much as we possibly can, and if it gets to an extreme again, well, then, we’ve got to deal with it. But I still think we’re in a series of 2-1, 3-2 type games and that’s not going to change. And in that situation, in the 3-2, 2-1 games, you’re not going to have everybody scoring.”
That's what the Kings are hoping for, certainly.
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