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The Climb

Climbing to next round goal for Kings, Sharks

Quick, Pavelski have teams moving in right direction

by John Kreiser @jkreiser7713 / Managing Editor

Two years after the Los Angeles Kings started their run to the Stanley Cup by overcoming a 3-0 series deficit to defeat the San Jose Sharks, they're trying to come from behind again against their Northern California rival.

The Kings lost Games 1 and 2 of their Western Conference First Round series to the Sharks in Los Angeles, but won Game 3 in San Jose in overtime Monday and can climb back into a tie in the best-of-7 series with a win Wednesday at SAP Center (10:30 p.m. ET; USA, CBC, TVA Sports, FS-W, CSN-CA).

Each of the three games has been decided by one goal. Defense has dominated; the Kings and Sharks have combined for 13 goals in the three games, only six after Game 1.

Here are four players trying to help their teams continue their climb toward the Stanley Cup.

Jonathan Quick, G, Kings -- The Conn Smythe Trophy winner as playoff MVP when the Kings won the Cup in 2012, Quick was brilliant in Los Angeles' 2-1 overtime victory in Game 3. He allowed a goal by Joe Thornton 30 seconds into the game, but finished with 29 saves on a night when the Sharks carried the play. Tanner Pearson wouldn't have had the chance to score in overtime without Quick's brilliance.

Anze Kopitar, C, Kings -- Los Angeles' leading scorer said after a 2-1 loss in Game 2 that "I have he had to be better," and he was. Kopitar jammed in the tying goal midway through the first period and was dominant all night; he led the Kings with five shots on goal and won 17 of 26 faceoffs (65 percent), a key for a team that relies on puck possession. He was also credited with five hits and blocked two shots.

Video: LAK@SJS, Gm3: Kopitar ties the game on the power play

Martin Jones, G, Sharks, -- After backing up Quick for the past two seasons, Jones has shown the playoff spotlight isn't too bright for him. He won 37 games during the regular season and is 2-1 with a 1.96 goals-against average in his first three playoff games, allowing six goals on 75 shots (.920 save percentage).

Joe Pavelski, F, Sharks -- San Jose's top goal-scorer during the regular season hasn't missed a beat so far in the playoffs. Pavelski leads all scorers in the series with three goals and is tops with four points. He had the deciding goal in Game 1 after leading the NHL during the regular season with 11 game-winners, and he's been dangerous nearly every time he's on the ice.

Video: SJS@LAK, Gm2: Pavelski fires it by Quick for the lead

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