Apr 28, 2014; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Kings left wing Kyle Clifford (13) and San Jose Sharks center Andrew Desjardins (10) fight during the first period in game six of the first round of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

San Jose Melts Down, LA Kings Tie Series With 4-1 Win


Apr 28, 2014; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Kings right wing Dustin Brown (23) celebrates with goalie Jonathan Quick (32) after the game against the San Jose Sharks in game six of the first round of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Staples Center. The Los Angeles Kings won 4-1. Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

Momentum has swung and the Los Angeles Kings have tied the series at three against the San Jose Sharks. San Jose was at one point on the verge of a series sweep, but has now allowed the LA Kings back in the series as it heads back to the SAP Center for a decisive Game 7.

Things were not good for San Jose to begin with as they got word that Marc-Edouard Vlasic would be out with an injury and Antti Niemi would be pulled for Alex Stalock. Trust issues, I guess.

What can you say? The Kings came out with a plan and that was to smash San Jose in the mouth.

The LA Kings jumped ahead nearly six minutes in when Drew Doughty took control of an attack and brought the puck in on the left side. The breakdown of the Sharks defense gave him options… he could fire or find one of his teammates to try to get into better scoring position. A streaking Justin Williams received a perfect pass in front of the crease and tipped it in for the oh-so-important go-ahead goal. LA up, 1-0.

Things were chippy between LA and San Jose, again. Andrew Desjardins and Kyle Clifford got into a scrap six minutes into the game. The Kings were in control and it was not sitting well with the Northern California hockey club. This scrap was just the start.

In the second period, the Kings were on fire in the midst of a few stupid penalties. At 6:40, LA went into the a 2-man disadvantage after Robyn Regehr and Jarret Stoll went into the box on couple of minutes. The Sharks took shot after shot, but the Kings were not able to clear the puck for the majority of San Jose’s power play. Finally after some breathing room  from killing both penalties, Doughty went to the sin bin for slashing Patrick Marleau. Perfect. Fortunately, in this third penalty kill, the Kings got their sticks on the puck and cleared it every chance they got. It was defensive brilliance.

They got three straight penalty kills. Control was set.

In the post-game interview, when asked about the sequence, Head Coach Darryl Sutter said, “We won the draw off the top.” How can you argue with Sutter? You can’t. No one knows how.

Unfortunately, the barrage of shots San Jose put on Quick, finally found the back of the net after the third power pay had occurred. James Sheppard finally converted one for the Sharks off of a tip in. Game tied, 1-1.

The third period started deadlocked in every aspect of the game. Both teams were at each others throats… or at least they would be.

Justin Williams broke the deadlock when he tipped in a puck that was caught underneath Stalock, but never frozen. It had slid out behind the Shark goalie and had crossed the line. Reviewed but not denied, Kings up 2-1.

And then two more goals happened in the next 2:46.

Dwight King, Kopitar and Williams were on a three-on-one attack when Kopitar flicked in a rebound from Williams. Kings up 3-1.  Kopitar wasn’t done. He was again in the right place at the right time when Doughty fired a shot that Stalock lost to his left. Kopitar got the puck from between a defender’s skates and wristed it into an open net. LA went up, 4-1.

The Sharks were floundering. And frustrated.

There were three penalties before the fourth Kings goal. There were 12 afterward. San Jose seemed to be on their last nerve after losing the handle on this game. They baited the Kings into a few scrums and the Kings did not back down. If the Sharks wanted to throw hands, the Kings would throw hands. Still, it would not reverse the meltdown they had that started three games ago.

Apr 28, 2014; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Kings mascot Bailey holds up a sign after the game between the San Jose Sharks and Los Angeles Kings in game six of the first round of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Staples Center. The Los Angeles Kings won 4-1. Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

Now it comes down to one game, it comes down to Game 7… in “The Cage”.

“Two teams enter, one team leaves… to the Western Conference Semifinals.”

Mike W.R.

Twitter: @TheBigDisco

Tags: Los Angeles Kings