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Penalties cost Kings in Game 1 loss to Sharks

Los Angeles loses special-teams battle in series opener

by Abbey Mastracco / Correspondent

LOS ANGELES -- The Los Angeles Kings came away from their 4-3 loss in Game 1 of their Western Conference First Round series on Thursday even more impressed with the San Jose Sharks' power play. The game plan moving forward is the same one they had coming into the series: Stay out of the penalty box.

The Sharks went 1-for-4 with the extra man, but the power-play chances San Jose didn't capitalize on created enough momentum to generate some drastic swings that the Kings couldn't overcome.

"We lost the special-teams battle," Kings forward Anze Kopitar said. "We first and foremost took too many penalties. You just can't give them too much momentum."

San Jose tied the game 1-1 by scoring a power-play goal 6:25 into the first period. The Sharks didn't score on their next two chances, but they did generate scoring opportunities to help to reverse any momentum the Kings had generated. Every time the Kings did something positive, it seemed as though the Sharks had an answer.

"Their power play is good," Kings forward Trevor Lewis said. "They've got a shooting mentality and they shoot everything so we've just got to make sure we're in the lanes and making the right reads. We've got to wear them down. It's a long series and we've got to be physical on them and make them play in their own end."

The Kings grabbed a 3-2 lead late in the second period when Lewis scored a beauty of a shorthanded goal, carrying the puck the length of the ice, executing a perfect toe-drag and beating goaltender Martin Jones with a wrist shot. But before the Kings and the full house at Staples Center got a chance to enjoy the lead, Sharks forward Tomas Hertl tied the game 30 seconds later, exactly one second after Drew Doughty's hooking penalty expired.

Video: SJS@LAK, Gm1: Lewis, Hertl score 30 seconds apart

It was clear the Kings hadn't worn down the Sharks nearly enough.

"I knew they were tired there and [Dwight] King was talking to me, saw we had a little time. I looked up and he was driving the D, I just kind of pulled it and shot it," Lewis said of his goal. "But after [Hertl] scored, we needed to be better and keep the momentum on our side."

San Jose's momentum hit the Kings like a tidal wave.

"It's one of those things where it's a back-and-forth game," Los Angeles forward Dustin Brown said. "I think ultimately, we get up 3-2 on a shorthanded goal and the big momentum goal was that goal we gave up right after."

The Kings may also be without a key penalty-killer, defenseman Alec Martinez, as the series moves forward. He left the game in the second period after blocking a shot and didn't return for the third.

Video: SJS@LAK, Gm1: Hertl buries loose puck for PPG

"He did not play the third period," Kings coach Darryl Sutter said. "And he did not play in most of the second period."

Martinez missed the final four games of the regular season with an undisclosed injury.

Special teams fell flat for Los Angeles in Game 1. The Kings know they need to control their emotions and get back to their original game plan.

"There's a lot of penalties. They've got a really good power play and we've got to be aware of it. It's hard to kill off that many penalties," Brown said. "I think we need to change a lot of things. It starts with having everyone ready to go; just being sharper and executing better."

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