The Los Angeles Kings finally managed to show up to the Stanley Cup Playoffs by beating the San Jose Sharks 6-3 in a Game 4 elimination situation. Dustin Brown and Justin Williams came alive in this game to show that the LA Kings were not going to go away quietly. The series is now 3-1 in favor of San Jose.
— NHL (@NHL) April 23, 2014
The Kings made a move on a few of their lines to start the game. Brown and Anze Kopitar were reunited on the first line with Marian Gaborik as the third man. Their line were the ones that got the Kings’ first goal. Brown had the puck coming down the boards when he passed it cross-ice in traffic where Gaborik tipped it in. Blessed it be, there is a hockey god. The Kings were up 1-0.
LA and San Jose battled back and forth the entire period, but neither team could get the puck in the net. At least not until 7.3 seconds left in the period.
The second period was the period of Justin Williams.
On a power play that was caused when Raffi Torres boarded Dustin Brown, Williams shot from the right circle while charging ahead on an offensive attack. It was originally thought Mike Richards scored as he was in front of Niemi, whacking at the puck that went under and through his legs. No touch by Richards, which gave Williams the goal and the Kings the 2-1 lead.
It didn’t take long for San Jose to tie it up though. Five minutes later, a Sharks attack on Quick had Matt Nieto scoop up a shot over the Kings’ goalie when he got caught out too far from the net. The game was tied 2-2. The momentum, as it had seemed to do most of the series, was again in the Sharks’ fin.
But then you have someone like Justin Williams who managed to reverse that momentum. With eight minutes left in the period, he tapped in a goal to make it 3-2.
It was officially on for the LA Kings.
With a minute left in the second, a shot from Alec Martinez rebounded to young gun Tyler Toffoli, on his birthday, and managed to fling it in goal past Niemi, which made it 4-2, Kings. The pressure had been evident, but now the Kings had an extra goal to prove how dominant they were in the second period.
The third started the way the second ended… with the Kings dominating. Gaborik came up strong when he sent a well timed shot past an in-motion Niemi, making it 5-2. Breathing room was now available at Staples Center.
It was a slow death for San Jose, but it was not over for them. The Kings thought they had scored with nine minutes left, but it turns out, Jarret Stoll committed a penalty before the goal occurred. On the ensuing San Jose power play, Joe Pavelski managed to get another Sharks goal in after a barrage of shots on Quick. The Kings were still up, but now only 5-3.
San Jose kept the pressure on and worked the Kings down to the last minute. Unfortunately, the large lead prompted the Sharks to pull their goalie with more than two and a half minutes left in the game. They had the pressure, but did not go without risk with the extra skater on the ice. The Kings managed to break away with Toffoli leading the charge and unselfishly sent it to a streaking Dustin Brown who scored the empty netter. It was 6-3, Kings.
That seems to piss off the Sharks nice and proper. With 24 seconds left in the game, the Sharks started a melee that got three of their players, and subsequently two of the Kings players penalized, 2 minutes each for roughing. Thirteen seconds later, Justin Braun and Justin Williams got five for fighting. As the horn sounded to end the game, Brent Burns and Robyn Regehr got into a scrap that got them five minutes for fighting.
If the Kings wanted to send a message, San Jose received it.
Brown, Gaborik and Williams received the three stars for the game. The series moves to San Jose for Game 5 on Saturday.