The San Jose Sharks finally got the job done against the Los Angeles Kings and put their California rivals to bed with a 6-3 victory in Game Five of their first round playoff series. The win marks sure absolution for the Sharks, as they blew a 3-0 series lead last time they met the Kings in the post-season.
San Jose received goals from Joonas Donskoi, Chris Tierney, Matt Nieto, Joe Pavelski, and Melker Karlsson on the night. The 24-year-old Donskoi, the team’s rookie of the year, had two goals including the game-winner just under four minutes into the third period.
The Sharks had a 3-0 lead when the Kings started to storm back into things in the second period. Anze Kopitar, Jeff Carter and Kris Versteeg scored for Los Angeles in the span of 10 minutes, but San Jose pulled up their socks and put the game and the series away in the third period with three unanswered goals.
Thanks to considerable efforts from guys like Pavelski, Joe Thornton and Brent Burns, the Sharks were able to take the series in convincing fashion. The 31-year-old team captain had five goals in the series, while the beautifully bearded Burns was a force at both ends of the ice.
The Sharks outscored the Kings 17-11 over five games and allowed their depth to overtake the Kings. And while I didn’t expect the series to wrap up quite so quickly, yours truly was assured that San Jose’s ability to roll more lines with greater consistency would be the key to the series. The secondary scoring in Game Five stands as a testament to the depth of this Sharks team.
As for the Kings, there’s a lot to unpack head coach Darryl Sutter will not be pleased with the results.
Los Angeles struggled to pull ahead of the Sharks in the series and they only held a lead for a hair over four minutes in the entire five games. They fought from behind and did a valiant job at times, but San Jose’s suffocating dominance was too much to overcome.
Defenceman Drew Doughty once again logged serious minutes for the Kings, putting up nearly a half hour in Friday’s losing effort, but his tenacity wasn’t enough to drive the club to victory. He registered just a single assist in the series and put nine shots on goal.
Anze Kopitar had four points, including two goals, but the Sharks did well to contain him.
And Vincent Lecavalier, playing in his last NHL game on Friday night, found himself with two points. The 36-year-old did a lot of the little things right and bolstered the Kings with some solid veteran presence. He was named the Third Star of Friday’s game.
The Sharks will now await the winner of the Anaheim Ducks/Nashville Predators series and they should be able to manage a few rest days before the second round.