SAN JOSE – Tanner Pearson scored the game-winning goal in overtime and the Los Angeles Kings avoided elimination in the Shark Tank as they defeated San Jose 2-1 in Game Three on Monday night.
Dustin Brown set up the game-winning goal with a huge hit on Joonas Donskoi that provided the space necessary for Pearson to collect the puck and skate towards the net.
"Brown came 100mph with the big hit, it was a huge play by him and a huge play by Tanner [Pearson] after that," Kings center Vincent LeCavalier told Fox Sports West. "It's a good win for us and a real nice goal by Tanner."
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The overtime finish was the sixth between the California Hockey rivals in the playoffs since 2011, with the Sharks winning the previous five overtime games, including three in Game Three's all-time.
San Jose still leads the series 2-1 overall, and still has home ice as Game Four takes place on Wednesday night.
"Our goal was to cut the series in half tonight and fortunately we accomplished that," Pearson told FSW. "We executed on what we wanted to do, it got us to overtime and we capitalized."
Before the game, the Kings coach Darryl Sutter said his team need to start the game better. Unfortunately, all did not go accordingly to plan as San Jose scored just 30 seconds into the first period.
Joe Thorton's shot squeaked through the Kings defense and into the net as San Jose scored on their first shot for the third consecutive game.
After a penalty kill that could have been disastrous for Los Angeles, Anze Kopitar scored his first goal of the postseason on the Kings first power play. Jake Muzzin started the play with a wrist shot from the blue line that fell to Milan Lucic who slid the rebound to Kopitar for the goal.
It was the Kings fourth power play goal of the series as the two-time Stanley Cup champions have still yet to score a 5-on-5 goal in regulation in the series.
The Kings played much better defense in Game Three, shutting out the Sharks No. 3 ranked power play unit for the first time in the series. San Jose was 0-for-5 on the power play and they had four extra PP minutes in the game.
"Our PK played absolutely phenomenal in the third period," said LeCavalier. "It was a big win."
The Sharks outshot the Kings 30-to-24 in the game, with Jonathan Quick making 29 saves for the win.
"Riding over on the bus with him, you could see it right from the get go," Pearson said of Quick before the game. "He was locked in. It was like Game 1 for him."
Players of the Game:
Anze Kopitar: Game-tying goal in the first period.
Tanner Pearson: Game-winning goal in overtime.
1. Kopitar's New Skates: Kings assistant captain Anze Kopitar did not feel he was fast enough on the ice in Games One and Two, so he asked for new skates before Game Three. The skates must have worked as Kopitar looked a step ahead and scored his first goal of the postseason in the first period.
2. No Martinez: The hero of the 2014 Stanley Cup remains missing in action for the Kings. Defenseman, Alec Martinez, returned from injury in Game One of the series, but did not play in the second and third periods and has not been back on the ice since. According to LA Kings Insider, Jon Rosen, Martinez did not skate, or have a locker in the visiting locker room at SAP center.
3. What Can Brown to for You: Dustin Brown was the physical brusier they needed him to be, and the reason why he wears the captain's "C" on his chest. Brown threw his body around throughout the game, and leveled Donskoi seconds before Pearson's game-winner in overtime.
The Kings and Sharks will return to the SAP Center, otherwise known as the "Shark Tank" for Game Four of the first round NHL Playoff series as Los Angeles will look to even it up at 2-2.
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