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Kings carry 2-0 series lead to San Jose

by Brian Hunter


(Los Angeles leads best-of-7 series, 2-0)


Big story: In the first round, the Los Angeles Kings had to rally from a 2-0 deficit to advance. Now they're in position to do what the 2012 championship team did for four consecutive rounds: jump out to a 3-0 series lead, if they can defeat the San Jose Sharks at HP Pavilion. The Kings have won six in a row following their stunning 4-3 come-from-behind victory on Thursday.

Team Scope:

Kings: It has to be scary for opponents that Los Angeles is now winning games in just about every fashion imaginable. After relying on goaltender Jonathan Quick to come up huge in the third period of a 2-0 victory in the series opener, the Kings surrendered an early 2-0 lead built on goals by Jeff Carter and Drew Doughty, and trailed Game 2 by a 3-2 score late into the third period.

A two-man advantage after penalties to Sharks defensemen Brad Stuart and Marc-Edouard Vlasic quickly resulted in the game-tying power-play goal by Dustin Brown with 1:43 left. But the Kings weren't content to just head to overtime with a 5-on-4 man advantage. As a result, they got Trevor Lewis' game-winning goal 22 seconds later.

"I've said this before, experience is one thing and it's another thing to have all that experience together as a group of guys, because that goes a long way when you get yourself in a hole," Brown said. "We didn't play a great game tonight, but we found a way to win and that's the important thing. We've got to get back to playing our game if we want to continue to have success against the Sharks."

Sharks: The news came down a few hours before game time Thursday that San Jose will be playing the remainder of this series without forward Raffi Torres, suspended for a Game 1 hit on Jarret Stoll. If the Sharks can't find a way to win Saturday, the rest of the players on the team may find themselves with a lot of extra free time on their hands as well.

They had to be feeling good after absorbing the blow of another two-goal Kings lead and rallying to tie in the second period on scores by Patrick Marleau and Stuart before Vlasic put them in front for the first time in the series at 8:56 of the third. But the goals by Stuart and Vlasic took a backseat to the critical penalties they would take in the final minutes.

"It's a tough loss regardless," forward Joe Pavelski said. "We know we can break through. We have done it before. We know we're going to get our chances, and we did, and we could have had another one. It was just a tough way to lose it."

Who's hot: Carter and Mike Richards lead the Kings in scoring for the series with one goal and two assists each. Lewis, who doesn't have a power-play goal in 203 career regular-season games, now has three in 34 playoff games. … Marleau has a goal in five of the Sharks' six playoff games. Scott Gomez picked up a pair of assists in Game 2 for his first points of the postseason.

Injury report: Stoll (upper body) left Game 1 after the Torres hit, missed Game 2 and could be out of action a while longer. Kings forward Kyle Clifford (undisclosed) is also sidelined. … San Jose forwards Martin Havlat (lower body) and Adam Burish (upper body) remain out.

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