The San Jose Sharks have been dominant on the power play in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, and they showed that again on Saturday night, scoring twice with the man-advantage and knocking off the Los Angeles Kings 2-1.
The second PP goal came mere seconds into overtime, as Logan Couture beat Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick from in close. Couture missed most of the second period when he collided with Kings center Jeff Carter and went awkwardly into the boards, but he showed no ill effects after his return, and his game-winning goal emphasized that.
The ending was reminiscent of the conclusion of Game 2, when Dustin Brown and Trevor Lewis scored in a 22-second span to take advantage of two late penalties committed by the Sharks.
The game featured early scores by both the Sharks and Kings, with Dan Boyle scoring 1:34 into the contest on the Sharks’ first power play and the Kings’ Tyler Toffoli scoring his first career playoff goal halfway through the first.
After that, the scoring dried up completely, as both Quick and San Jose goaltender Antti Niemi exchanged stellar saves during the remainder of regulation. Quick had an excellent sequence late in the second period, when he stoned a shot from below the circle by Sharks forward Patrick Marleau, and was then able to smother the puck despite two Sharks being inches from the blue paint of the crease.
Niemi also had some second period drama, coming well out of his net to stop a wrister from Kings defenseman Drew Doughty and then scrambling to cover up the puck when he let a rebound leak loose from his pads.
In the end, however, the story of the game was the Kings’ inability to stay out of the penalty box. Even though they only conceded five power plays to the Sharks, it was enough to tip the scale in San Jose’s favor, as the resulting shifts in momentum and tempo played into the home team’s hands.
The teams will renew hostilities on Monday night, with the Sharks looking to tie the series up and the Kings hoping to send the series back to the Staples Center with a chance to win it in five games.