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Instant analysis: Sharks vs. Kings, Game 3

Los Angeles shows mettle with victory; San Jose was better team for long stretches

by Shawn P. Roarke @sroarke_nhl / Director of Editorial

SAN JOSE -- The Los Angeles Kings barged their way back into this Western Conference First Round series against the San Jose Sharks, winning 2-1 in overtime at SAP Center on Monday on a goal by Tanner Pearson at 3:47 to close the gap to 2-1 in the best-of-7 series.

What we learned: These Kings are tough to put away. Their season was hanging in the balance after losing the first two games at Staples Center. So what did they do? They played their most complete game, they answered the body blow that was another first-shot goal from the Sharks, and they clawed their way back into this series, scoring in overtime after being held to nine shots in the final 40 minutes of regulation. In the process, they planted a seed of doubt in the mind of the Sharks, many of whom have scars from the 2014 meltdown against the Kings that may never heal.

What this means for Sharks: Time to double down. Their first loss in the series might be a cause of panic for the fan base, but the Sharks did not do much wrong in Game 3. They were once again the better team for long stretches in the game, especially after the first period. They have suffocated the Kings offense for the most part, allowing six goals in the first three games, two during even-strength situations. Continue playing the way they have and the Sharks should be confident about their odds to win two more games.

What this means for Kings: A reason to believe. The Kings already knew they could make this a series, they just needed to show it. In Game 3, they did. They put together their best effort of the series, and Pearson scored a huge overtime goal to avoid falling behind 3-0. Don't discount the mental hold the Kings enjoy on the Sharks. Now that it is a series again, the Kings know they can start to wage a bit of psychological warfare against the Sharks and see exactly where that will lead.

Key moment: Recovering from the first shift. Using the momentum of being urged onto the ice by Ronnie Lott, the hard-hitting Pro Football Hall of Fame defensive back from the San Francisco 49ers, and an amped-up crowd, Joe Thornton scored on the first shot of the game, 30 seconds in. This time, the Kings answered with a goal of their own at 8:10, center Anze Kopitar scoring his first of the series on the power play.

Unsung player of the game: Drew Doughty may not be unsung, but there are few players more responsible for this win than him. He played a game-high 35:01, killed penalties, quarterbacked the power play, blocked shots and played the body. Although he is one of the focal points of the Kings, he played his most dominant game of this series and one the Kings desperately needed in this situation.

What's next: Game 4 is at SAP Center on Wednesday (10:30 p.m. ET; USA, CBC, TVA Sports, FS-W, CSN-CA). The Sharks will be feeling pressure to get the win and head back to L.A. with a 3-1 series lead.

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