The Kings’ approach to Game 3 was to cut the series deficit in half; they did just that, and in dramatic fashion by way of a 2-1 OT victory over the San Jose Sharks Monday night at the SAP Center.
Coming off of two losses on home-ice to start the series, the team’s mindset remained simple, their outlook shortsighted.
“It was just about cutting the series in half tonight, that’s what our mindset was coming up here,” Dustin Brown said. “We accomplished that tonight. Recover and reload for Game 4.”
A stellar defensive effort was played out by the Kings, who killed off all five of San Jose’s power plays during the evening, including two key ones in the third period.
“We found a way, Jonny made some big saves, blocked shots, couple bobbled pucks on their side, breaks that we needed to get,” said Brown. “That was probably the difference in the game, our PK.”
The night got off to an awry start when Joe Thornton gave the Sharks a 1-0 lead 30 seconds into the game, scoring on the Sharks’ first shot of the contest. San Jose has scored on their first shot in each of the three games played so far this series.
The Kings, though, after harnessing a heavy allotment of pressure from the Sharks following Thornton’s opening marker, settled down and responded with a power play goal of their own.
Anze Kopitar jammed home his first playoff goal when Milan Lucic found him on the back door after controlling a Jake Muzzin shot from the point that didn’t make it to the net. Kopitar’s goal tied the score 1-1 with 12:50 to play in the first.
Neither team would score for the remainder of regulation, the Kings playing sound defense in keeping the Sharks’ high-powered offense off the board.
It didn’t take long for the Kings to strike in overtime.
Dustin Brown disrupted San Jose’s exit of the Kings’ zone when he laid a humongous hit on Joonas Donskoi. Tanner Pearson picked up the loose puck, skated it on a two-on-one with Vincent Lecavalier, made a subtle move to his right and shot the puck on the ice through the five-hole of Martin Jones.
“I was able to create a two-on-one in, I knew Vinny was with me, I just didn’t want to risk forcing a pass across and turning it over, I just wanted to get it on net,” said Tanner Pearson “I thought making a move a bit to his left and putting it on the ice was a good play.”
Pearson’s goal, 3:47 minutes into the first overtime, gave the Kings a 2-1 win.
Monday night was the Kings’ 56th playoff overtime game in franchise history, they improved their record to 29-27 in those situations.
Six different players led the Kings in points scored (1), Anze Kopitar in shots taken (5), Luke Schenn in hits delivered (10), Drew Doughty in shots blocked (5), and Drew Doughty in minutes played (35:01). Jonathan Quick made 29 saves in the win.
The Kings will remain in San Jose to take on the Sharks in Game 4 of this Western Conference Quarterfinal series, which takes place Wednesday night at the SAP Center, where the puck is scheduled to drop just after 7:30 PM PST.