Big story: There was a lot of focus coming into this series on the fact Los Angeles is hurting up front, with leading scorer Anze Kopitar sidelined for the rest of the season following surgery on his ankle and forward Justin Williams returning despite having to wear a harness to protect an injured shoulder. But the Kings' defense stepped up along with goaltender Jonathan Quick in their series-tying victory on Saturday, as Drew Doughty finished with 2 goals and 2 assists while Jack Johnson opened the scoring and added an assist in a 4-0 triumph.
Sharks: After just squeaking by Los Angeles in overtime to take the series opener, San Jose had its attack completely throttled in missing an opportunity to sweep the first two games at HP Pavilion and relinquishing home-ice advantage to the Kings. Special teams played a role early on Saturday, as the Sharks came up empty on their first power play with the game scoreless. Johnson and Doughty then connected after penalties to Ben Eager and Ryane Clowe, putting San Jose in an early hole from which it never recovered.
"I think it's a snowballing effect," forward Joe Pavelski said. "We didn't establish the momentum that our power play can create for us and then we come back and we have guys (try to) do it on their own. Not because they're selfish or anything like that, but because we're trying to make it better. We forgot just how much we need each other and how good we are together.
"You want to be the guy who turns things around, but you forget how much you rely on your teammates along the way. We didn't play smart enough. We need to focus on our game a little better."
Kings: While Los Angeles welcomed Williams back in Game 1, the Kings quickly found themselves down another forward for Game 2 when Jarret Stoll received a one-game suspension for a hit on Sharks defenseman Ian White in the opener. But they overcame that adversity and shook off a tough OT defeat to start the series by relying on their defense to not only shut down the San Jose attack but put the puck past Antti Niemi as well. Johnson and Doughty combined to score the first three goals, then forward Kyle Clifford completed the scoring early in the third.
"We know what kind of character we have in this locker room," said Quick, who stopped 34 shots for his first playoff shutout and the sixth in franchise history. "With a couple guys out, we've still got to do the same thing, even if they're in the lineup. That's when our team plays best, is when we play from our system, strong defensively, and then we get our chances from there. The power play had some great opportunities and scored a few big goals for us early on. It's only one win. We've got a long way to go. We're looking forward to Game 3."
Who's hot: Quick now has a .962 save percentage for the series after turning aside 42 of 45 shots in the Kings' Game 1 overtime defeat. Doughty's big night made him the scoring leader among defensemen in the playoffs and his 4 points were also the best single-game effort. Eric Brewer of the Lightning had 3 points in a Game 2 win over the Penguins.
Injury report: White left Game 1 after absorbing a hit into the boards by Stoll and didn't play on Saturday, but he was hoping to take part in a full practice on Monday.
"I did a workout here today and everything went well. I did the neuro psych test and everything was fine," White said on Sunday. "If everything goes well on the ice tomorrow, it should be good to go for Tuesday."
Stoll has served his suspension and will also be eligible to return to the Los Angeles lineup.
Stat pack: Prior to Quick, the last Kings goalie to record a playoff shutout was Felix Potvin on April 25, 2002 against the Avalanche. … Devin Setoguchi and Logan Couture led the Sharks in Game 2 with five shots apiece.
Puck drop: San Jose now finds itself in the position of having to win at least once in hostile territory to take back home ice and avoid facing elimination when it returns home for Game 5 on Saturday.
"Sometimes when you get humbled as bad as we did, it's a lot more effective than losing in overtime," coach Todd McLellan told the San Jose Mercury News. "Hopefully the message resonates here in the locker room."