Kings 4, Sharks 3 (final)
The Los Angeles Kings have taken a 2-0 lead in the Western Conference semifinal series against the San Jose Sharks by scoring twice in a 22-second span in the final minutes of Game 2 on Thursday night at Staples Center.
The Sharks can blame themselves for getting penalized twice in the late stages of the third period, giving the Kings a 5-on-3 advantage that they eventually converted. Dustin Brown scored the equalizier on a rebound and Trevor Lewis put home a loose puck when the Kings still had a man advantage.
San Jose defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic, whose delay of game penalty led to the Kings two-man advantage, scored his first career playoff goal with 11:04 left to give the Sharks their first lead of the game at 3-2.
Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick finished with 28 saves while Sharks goalie Antti Niemi made 27 saves.
Here's a breakdown of the Game 2:
The San Jose Sharks had a golden scoring opportunity inside of six minutes in the third period of Game 2 on Thursday night at Staples Center, but center Joe Pavelski couldn't find the puck in time with goalie Jonathan Quick leaving the right side of the net vacant.
Kings defenseman Drew Doughty tried a backhanded shot that was knocked away, and a center Tyler Toffoli's effort was also dismissed by San Jose goalie Antti Niemi.
The Kings rushed down ice in a two on two, but winger Dustin Brown's shot was kicked away. A long shot by Kings defenseman Rob Scuderi was then gloved with 3:08 left.
Hard shots by Doughty and fellow defenseman Jake Muzzin were also blocked just before San Jose defensmean Brad Stuart, frazzled by the assault, got called for tripping with 2:41 left in the period.
The Kings then gained a two-man advantage when defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic knocked the puck out of play with 2:19 left for a delay of game.
Kings center Mike Richards put a shot on goal, but Niemi couldn't glove it this time and Brown knocked in the rebound to tie the socre, 3-3, with 1:43 remaining.
Twenty-two seconds later, the Kings took a 4-3 lead when Trevor Lewis pushed home a rebound past Niemi.
The physical play of Game 2 continued in the third period, with Kings center Anze Kopitar pulling Sharks captain Joe Thornton off a pile of bodies near Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick, who was under siege in the crease.
The scene was repeated seconds later down ice when Kings center Brad Richardson barreled into the Sharks' net, with San Jose center James Sheppard called for a roughing penalty with 9:02 left.
A Kopitar power-play shot from the left side of Sharks goalie Antti Niemi was snared by the goaltender. A center pass from Kings winger Dustin Penner wasn't coverted by center Trevor Lewis. Niemi then slowed a Kings' shot from his left side, along with a slow follow-up attempt, to finally kill the penalty.
The Staples Center crowd cheered the return of injured center Anze Kopitar with 10:11 left in the third period of Game 2 on Thursday night, the sound system blaring the "Rocky" theme.
Kopitar went to the locker room for treatment in the first minute of the third period after getting struck in the face by the puck.
The Sharks didn't get a shot on goal in the third period of Game 2 on Thursday night at Staples Center until 11:04 remained, when a shot by defenseman Brad Stuart caromed off the boards behind the net back toward the crease, where defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic slapped it in for a 3-2 lead over the Kings.
A replay confirmed the goal.
Kings right wing Dustin Penner had a good look at the goal with 13:54 left in regulation, but Sharks goalie Antti Niemi covered it.
Forty-two seconds into the third period, Kings center Anze Kopitar was knocked to the ice after he was struck in the mouth by the puck.
Kopitar was taken to the locker room for treatment. It appears the Kings will have to play several minutes with the score tied, 2-2, without Kopitar.
Brad Stuart's first goal of the playoffs helped the San Jose Sharks tie the score, 2-2, in Game 2 of their Western Conference semifinal series with the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday night at Staples Center.
The defenseman blasted a hard shot past Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick with 5:39 left in the period to even the score.
The attack on Quick resumed when center Logan Couture skated down to smack a shot that the Kings goalie was able to stop.
Officials then called a penalty on Kings forward Jeff Carter for charging when he banged into Sharks defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic along the boards with 4:35 left in the period. Quick had to stop a Joe Thornton threat in front of the net during the penalty kill, the Sharks' shot disparity growing to 23-12.
Kings winger Justin Williams tried a final-minute shot that Sharks goalie Antti Niemi gloved.
Going to the third period, the Sharks own a 24-13 advantage in shots.
The Sharks kept up the pressure in the second period of Game 2 on Thursday night at Staples Center and evened the score, 2-2, when defenseman Brad Stuart blasted an outside shot past Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick.
Stuart beat Quick to his right with 5:39 left in the period on the hard shot, which helped give the Sharks a 19-11 advantage in shots on goal for the game.
The Kings, already with a 2-0 lead in hand, went back on a power play with 13:48 left in the second period of Game 2 on Thursday night at Staples Center when Sharks center Tommy Wingels committed high sticking on Kings defenseman Jake Muzzin.
The Kings didn't muster a threat, then committed a penalty of their own when defenseman Alec Martinez was whistled for hooking with 12:18 left in the period.
Wingels had a great scoring chance eight feet in front of Quick that the goalie denied, and Quick then brushed away a follow-up shot by defenseman Brent Burns to preserve his home shutout bid.
San Jose left wing Patrick Marleau ended the shutout with 10:13 left just as the teams were back at full strength by taking a sharp pass to the crease from center Logan Couture to cut the Kings' lead to 2-1. Center Joe Thornton also got an assist on play.
With Kings goalie Jonathan Quick riding a five-period shutout streak dating to the first-round series against St. Louis, the Kings opened the second period of Game 2 against the San Jose Sharks on Thursday night with a backhanded shot on goal by Jeff Carter that was blocked.
As Kings center Tyler Toffoli charged toward the San Jose goal, Sharks defenseman Scott Hannan was called for an interference penalty only 2:34 into the period.
A Kings shot deflected off the crossbar on the power play. A Justin Williams shot was then denied.
Drew Doughty eventually blasted in a shot with 15:50 left in the second period for a 2-0 lead with his second score of the postseason. The assist went to Brad Richardson.
The Kings were called for a second penalty in the first period of Game 2 against the Sharks on Thursday night at Staples Center when defenseman Alec Martinez was called for holding with 2:27 left.
San Jose's Dan Boyle broke his stick on the power play, as the Sharks sought to improve upon a 1-for-13 success rate on road power plays in the postseason, but it was to no avail.
At the period's end, San Jose had outshot the Kings, 11-4, but remained scoreless after 80 minutes of the Western Conference semifinal series and trailed, 1-0, as they went to the first intermission in Game 2.
Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick withstood the pressure of seven shots in the opening 10 minutes of Game 2 against the San Jose Sharks on Thursday night at Staples Center while the defending Stanley Cup champions mustered three shots in that same stretch.
Then, with 8:57 left in the first period, Kings center Jordan Nolan committed a slashing penalty. Quick knocked down a Brent Burns shot to his gut, then covered a blue-line swat from the Sharks and deflected with his left pad a point-blank effort from Logan Couture to kill the power play.
The Kings then had a man advantage because Sharks winger Tim Kennedy committed high sticking on Kings center Mike Richards with 5:48 left in the period. Kennedy is the player activated by San Jose after the suspension of Raffi Torres for his illegal hit to the head of Kings center Jarret Stoll in Game 1 on Tuesday night.
Richards had two good looks at the net, as did Drew Doughty, but nothing got past Sharks goalie Antti Niemi.
Kings center Jeff Carter gathered a loose puck, charged down the right side of the ice and fired a shot past San Jose goaltender Antti Niemi for a 1-0 lead only 3:06 into Game 2 on Thursday night at Staples Center.
The unassisted goal was Carter's fourth of the playoffs and 25th of his career in the postseason.
Jarret Stoll, who was injured by an illegal hit from Sharks forward Raffi Torres in Game 1, has officially been scratched from the Kings' lineup for Game 2 tonight at Staples Center.
Jonathan Quick is starting in goal for L.A., along with defensemen Drew Doughty and Robyn Regehr and forwards Jeff Carter, Mike Richards and Dwight Kings.
Antti Niemi gets the start in goal for San Jose.
The Kings are seeking a 2-0 lead in the Western Conference semifinals, the Kings' first home-ice series since 1992.
Earlier Thursday, the Sharks learned Torres was suspended for the remainder of the series after the NHL ruled he delivered an illegal hit to the head of Stoll in the second period of Game 1 on Tuesday.
Stoll, one of the Kings' primary penalty killing forwards and a valued third-line center, likely sustained a concussion from the hit. Stoll is expected to miss the first four games of this series and could be out longer than that, although the team has not released the exact nature of his injury.
Brad Richardson was selected to replace for Stoll,.
When the Los Angeles Kings take on the San Jose Sharks in Game 2 of the Western Conference semifinals at Staples Center on Thursday night, one locker room will be much quieter than usual.
Jarret Stoll, who will miss at least the next three games in the best-of-seven series, is out with what is presumed to be a concussion after taking an illegal hit to the head from Sharks forward Raffi Torres, who has been suspended for the remainder of this playoff round.
"He's a pretty vocal guy," Kings captain Dustin Brown said of Stoll after the morning skate. "He's one of those rah-rah guys. Before the game and in between periods he's always chatting and talking. Again, it'll be a little different in here.
"It's very similar to when [Matt Greene] is not in here -- it's a little quieter, even more so with Jarret out."
Last season, Kings Coach Darryl Sutter made a reference to his often-muted team, saying: "They're all awesome quiet guys."
Without Stoll and Greene, the volume drops even more.
"It's just what they bring to the room," Brown said. "You can't ask guys to do that -- [change] all of sudden."
Check back after the puck drops at 7 o'clock for updates throughout the game.