LOS ANGELES -- There wasn't a sense of shock in a nearly empty Los Angeles Kings dressing room. Perhaps that's because they long ago realized what they're up against with the San Jose Sharks in this Western Conference First Round series.
The Kings played by far their best game of the series Tuesday yet face a 3-0 series deficit for the first time since the 2000 conference quarterfinals after Patrick Marleau's soft backhand glanced off the stick of Kings defenseman Slava Voynov at 6:20 of overtime for a 4-3 San Jose win at Staples Center.
Game 4 is Thursday in Los Angeles (10:30 p.m. ET; CBC, RDS, NBCSN, CSN-CA, FS-W).
"It's pretty self-explanatory," Kings center Anze Kopitar said. "We're down 3-0. Every piece to this puzzle is going to have to give it their all. We're going to have to come out and throw everything we have at them and see what happens.
"It was better than the two games before, but not to our standards yet. I don't know about a sense of shock, but it's certainly not satisfying … it was better, but still not good enough."
Kings center Mike Richards played on one of the three teams in NHL history to have come back from 3-0 series deficits, when he accomplished the feat with the 2010 Philadelphia Flyers against the Boston Bruins. But he didn't have much answer as to what it will take to win one game against San Jose, which proved it can score greasy goals too, and come out on top even when the Kings slow down the game.
"Play each game and don't worry about what's ahead of you," Richards said. "We just have to have a mindset of winning the next game and go from there."
The loss came in a game when the Kings scored two power-play goals in the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time since Game 2 of last year's conference semifinals, a stretch of 12 playoff games. Jarret Stoll got his first playoff goal since the 2012 run to the Stanley Cup, ending a stretch of 12 goalless postseason games. Marian Gaborik showed his legs and hands from earlier in his career with a beauty of a 170-foot rush.
Then the Kings dominated all of the overtime and seemed on the verge of pulling the series to 2-1 until Marleau's floater stunned the building.
"That's playoff hockey," Kings captain Dustin Brown said. "Sometimes it works that way. It's irrelevant now."
Goaltender Jonathan Quick, who made 36 saves, offered little more than one-word answers in his media scrum.
"It doesn't matter if you're up three or down three," Quick said. "I said this the other day."
One more loss will mean a whole lot to the 2012 champions, who were very stubborn in a conference final loss to the Chicago Blackhawks last year. Kings coach Darryl Sutter hinted at some of that.
"They're a good hockey club, and I'm not saying that because they're up 3-0. They're just a really good hockey club over there," Sutter said of the Sharks. "We couldn't catch them and we knew we were going to play Anaheim or San Jose, and they're really good opponents and that's what we're up against. It's a tough field, and we won't go away quietly."