Western Semi Final, Game 1: Kings Win 2-0, LA leads series 1-0
LOS ANGELES – Beginning their first series on home ice since the opening round of the 1992 playoffs, the Los Angeles Kings wanted to make the most of their opportunities – and they did just that with a 2-0 win over the San Jose Sharks to draw first blood in this Western Semi Final series.
Like most predicted this series to be, the first period of Game 1 was very even with each team registered eight shots. But it was the home team who got the first goal as Slava Voynov slapped his third past Antti Niemi to put the Kings out in front with just 13 seconds remaining in the opening frame.
In the second, Voynov was at it again as he generated some more offense as his shot was tipped in by Mike Richards who scored his first to put Los Angeles up by a pair.
In my preview, I mentioned how a lot has changed since the Kings and Sharks last met in the playoffs in 2011. One of the most significant changes was the additions of Mike Richards and Jeff Carter and made their presence known on this night as both were in on both Kings goals.
The Sharks entered the second round on a roll having swept the Vancouver Canucks in the opening round. They were determined to keep their winning ways going. However, Jonathan Quick and the stingy Kings defense had something to say about that.
After stopping eight in the first and 11 in the second, Jonathan Quick was simply remarkable in the third. Despite outshooting the Kings 16-4 in the final frame, the Sharks just could not find a way to solve Quick who earned his second shutout this postseason.
The likes of Marleau, Thornton and Pavelski entered the evening on a mission but exited feeling frustrated that Number 32 had them all figured out.
The Los Angeles Kings made most of their home-ice advantage winning Game 1 and now they hope to extend their lead in the series in Game 2 on Thursday night. Of course, the big question will be whether Tuesday’s loss will determine or deflate the Sharks.
We will see then. But for now, thanks to the efforts from Quick, Voynov, Carter and Richards, the Kings have drawn first blood in the Battle of California.