When the San Jose Sharks finished off a 2-1 overtime victory against the Los Angeles Kings in Game 3 of their Western Conference semifinal series on Saturday night, it was complete with everything you'd expect in a Stanley Cup playoff game.
Jarring hits, a flashy goal by Kings rookie Tyler Toffoli, excellent goaltending and controversy. The overall play wasn't always stellar, but it was rugged playoff hockey.
Times reporter Lisa Dillman wrote: "Until a late surge of activity, the game had precious little momentum and seemed curiously disjointed for both teams."
Times columnist Helene Elliott examined the controversies, which included two late penalties against the Kings that gave the Sharks a two-man advantage for nearly two minutes at the end of the third period and beginning of overtime as well as a game misconduct given to goaltender Jonathan Quick for verbally abusing the officials at the conclusion of the game.
Coach Darryl Sutter of the Kings, who still lead the best-of-seven series 2-1, played it cool with reporters after the loss, mentioning the Kings won Game 2 because penalties against the Sharks gave L.A. a two-man advantage it used to score two late goals in a 4-3 victory.
"They said we got a break last game, so what should I say this game?" he asked reporters. "They got a break?"
Kings veteran winger Dustin Penner cut to the quick of the matter. He believed the second penalty against Trevor Lewis, for running into Sharks goalie Antti Niemi on a short-handed breakaway, shouldn't have been called.
"I found it very tough to believe, with a player as intelligent as Trevor Lewis, that he'd run the goalie," Penner said. "I asked him and he said he got pushed from behind. I believe him and I'm disappointed that the refs had enough confidence to make a gutsy call like that in the last, whatever, 30 seconds of a period."
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