Kings drop playoff opener to Sharks, 6-3

SAN JOSE — This was like a nasty flashback, one bad journey into the darkness for Kings fans.

The loyal old-timers have scar tissue around the old wound — long ago playoff blowouts, losses to the likes of the Edmonton Oilers and the Calgary Flames in the late '80s and early '90s.

Undoubtedly, the latest cut will take time to heal. The Kings were thoroughly outplayed in Game 1 of the Western Conference quarterfinals as the San Jose Sharks defeated them, 6-3, at the SAP Center on Thursday night.

SUMMARY: San Jose Sharks 6, Kings 3

Game 2 is in San Jose on Sunday. The Kings will have two days to digest what happened in Game 1, an unraveling that started when they gave up two goals in the final minute of the first period.

San Jose led 3-0 after one period and 5-0 after two.

A power outage at the SAP Center for about six minutes delayed the start of the pregame warmup but did not affect the start of the game. Officials released a statement about the outage, saying the cause was unknown.

The Kings' inability to get going until the third period was nearly as mysterious.

"I think we weren't ready to start," Kings captain Dustin Brown said. "They got up to a 3-0 lead, and sloppy play, turnovers, bad changes, odd-man rushes. We probably gave up more odd-man rushes in the first period than we have in the last ... I don't know. When you give a team like that opportunities on the odd-man, they're going to make you pay and that's what they did.

"It was more of the same in the second."

The team helping starting goalie Jonathan Quick win the William M. Jennings Trophy in the regular season — given to the goaltender or goaltenders allowing the fewest goals — looked like mere stand-ins in Game 1.

"Not a start we wanted," Kings defenseman Willie Mitchell said. "No doubt about that. We know this club plays well in this building and in order to have success against them early on you got to do the right things with the puck and we didn't do that and paid the price dearly for it."

The Kings have prided themselves on not giving up so many odd-man rushes. Mitchell said the problems went beyond that in Game 1.

"It's all over the ice," he said. "We didn't execute. They had more jump than we did. Sometimes there's no rhyme or reason for us."

Quick, who faced 28 shots, was not around for the third period as Kings Coach Darryl Sutter showed some mercy and had rookie Martin Jones play the final 20 minutes. San Jose scored its final goal, an empty-netter, when the Kings pulled Jones for an extra attacker.

Replacing Quick with Jones seemed to jolt the Kings out of their malaise and they scored twice in the first seven minutes of the third to create some possible carryover for Game 2. Defenseman Jake Muzzin ended San Jose goalie Antti Niemi's shutout bid when his shot from the left point got through traffic at 2 minutes 1 second.

The second Kings' goal also came from a defenseman with Slava Voynov scoring at 6:55, an unassisted effort from the right circle. Forward Trevor Lewis cut the Sharks' lead to two goals when he scored with 6:01 remaining.

Until the third period, it had been all Sharks.

San Jose received critical boosts from two players who have been on the outside looking in for most of the season: rookie Tomas Hertl and Raffi Torres. Hertl scored once and added an assist. Hertl only returned to the lineup last week after months of rehabilitation of his knee.

Hertl required surgery after a knee-on-knee collision with Brown on Dec. 19 and left no doubt about his feelings for the Kings, telling Bay Area reporters: "I not much like L.A."

Torres scored to make it 4-0 for the Sharks at 12:57 of the second period and his inclusion in the lineup was a mild surprise. The injured Torres had missed the final 17 games of the regular season.

"I could have gone out there and played, but I didn't think I was at the level where I needed to play at," he said after Thursday's morning skate. "Playoffs is a different story. You have to elevate your game. It's about digging deep and looking and staring in the other guy's eyes and going to work."

Torres was a controversial figure in the rugged series between the Kings and the Sharks last season. The Kings won the second-round series in seven games and Torres was suspended for six games in that series for his hit on Kings center Jarret Stoll, who suffered a concussion.

Sharks Coach Todd McLellan knows the 6-3 victory means a 1-0 lead, and little more, in the best-of-seven series and spoke about what the Kings did in the first round in 2013 against the St. Louis Blues.

"We only have to look back to last year," he said. "They went to St. Louis and went down 2-0 and still came back and won four straight. They’re a very good hockey club for a reason and they showed it in the third period tonight."

Twitter: @reallisa

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