Western Semi Final, Game 5: Kings Win 3-0, LA leads series 3-2
LOS ANGELES – Many thought tonight’s game was a must-win for the home side and if it was, the Los Angeles Kings came through in a big way as they blank the San Jose Sharks by a score of 3-0 and now head back to Northern California looking to close out the series on Sunday.
After a scoreless first period where each team had six shorts, it was Los Angeles who got things started late in the middle frame as Anze Kopitar opened the scoring at the 18:08 mark of the second finishing off a great feed from Kyle Clifford. The goal was just Kopitar’s second of the playoffs but it was timely and the Kings happily took it.
Ith an urgency to keep pressing and not be content to simply sit on the lead, the Kings wasted no time adding to their lead as just 53 seconds into the third, Slava Voynov wristed his fourth of the postseason past the short side of Antti Niemito put the silver-and-black up by a pair.
The night was then capped off by Jeff Carter’s team-leading fifth of the playoffs as he iced the puck into an empty-net to give Los Angeles the 3-0 lead.
Prior to Game 5, plenty was said about the Kings from some of the Sharks players (most notably Logan Couture and TJ Galiardi) about the desire to embellish by some of the Los Angeles players, including Dustin Brown and Jonathan Quick. Drew Doughty, for one, was quick to defend his teammates and whether anyone would care to admit it or not, it had to have helped greatly that the Kings were given the opportunity to stand up for each other – and that fire, that intensity showed on the ice tonight with the end result coming in the home team’s favour.
Jonathan Quick certainly wasn’t as busy as he was most nights but there is no denying how important he was for his team tonight making countless spectacular saves to keep the San Jose onslaught scratching their heads.
The Sharks were only able to outshoot the Kings in one period tonight (13-11 in the third) but Quick was up to the task either way as he turned away all 24 shots to earn his third shutout of these playoffs.
More importantly, with the win, Jonathan Quick now becomes the all-time leader in Los Angeles Kings history with 27 career wins passing Kelly Hrudey for that mark.
It was an all-around great night for not only Quick but the entire Kings team and they hope to build on that on Sunday as they try to hand the Sharks their first loss on home ice this postseason, which would eliminate them from the playoffs altogether.
Depending on the outcome of tomorrow’s matchup between the Ottawa Senators and Pittsburgh Penguins, Game 6 between the Kings and Sharks will start at either 5pm PST or 7pm PST. Either way, the Los Angeles Kings will be ready. Will you be?