LOS ANGELES -- Joe Pavelski thought he was going to have to settle in for a much longer night. But his effort was the difference for the San Jose Sharks in a game full of close plays.
Pavelski scored his second goal of the game 17 seconds into the third period, and the Sharks defeated the Los Angeles Kings 4-3 in Game 1 of their Western Conference First Round series at Staples Center on Thursday.
Pavelski scored on a wraparound with Anze Kopitar chasing him after a faceoff win by San Jose. It was enough to give the Sharks a victory in a game that was tied three times and did nothing to diminish expectations of a close series between the Pacific Division rivals.
"I didn't know it went in, to be honest," Pavelski said. "I heard it hit the post … I'm like, 'Oh, God, it might have the post. It might be laying there.' I'll have to get back to work. And it's a goal."
Pavelski, who tied the game 1-1 with a power-play goal in the first period, has six goals in six games against the Kings this season. He led the NHL with 11 game-winning goals during the regular season.
"Big-game guy for us," San Jose coach Peter DeBoer said. "He's our captain for a reason. He scores a lot of key goals … he's been clutch like that for us all season."
Video: SJS@LAK, Gm1: Muzzin draws out Jones, banks in puck
Game 2 is Saturday at Staples Center (10:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports, CSN-CA, FS-W).
San Jose goaltender Martin Jones, making his first start in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, made 21 saves for his first playoff win, and it came against his former team.
The Sharks were 28-10-3 on the road in the regular season, so they were comfortable facing two one-goal deficits.
"There was no panic there," DeBoer said. "I liked our response. We fell behind 1-0, then we fell behind 3-2. Both times we came back with big responses. I think we're comfortable on the road and I thought we played a real good road game."
Video: SJS@LAK, Gm1: Pavelski scores two, nets game-winner
The Kings allowed two goals off faceoff losses, gave San Jose four power plays and had trouble with the Sharks' forecheck.
"We have to do a better job staying out of the box, and that our mistakes don't result in goals against," Kopitar said. "Obviously it's not ideal to lose the first game, especially at home."
Tomas Hertl capped a wide-open second period when he found a loose puck in the slot and scored at 17:48 to tie it 3-3. The goal came one second after a penalty to Kings defenseman Drew Doughty expires, and 30 seconds after Trevor Lewis had given Los Angeles a 3-2 lead with a toe-drag shorthanded goal that brought the 18,230 fans to their feet.
Video: SJS@LAK, Gm1: Burns rips it by Quick off the faceoff
It was the first shorthanded playoff goal by the Kings since Kopitar had one in 2012.
"We had all the momentum on a penalty-kill goal," Dustin Brown said. "We've been [off on] little things … we just weren't sharp."
Burns gave San Jose a 2-1 lead with a shot from the right point past Quick off a faceoff win by Joel Ward, at 6:50 of the second.
Video: SJS@LAK, Gm1: Lewis, Hertl score 30 seconds apart
The Kings' first two goals went into the net off San Jose players. Jeff Carter's backhand centering pass hit the stick of a lunging Burns at 7:30 of the second, tying the game 2-2. Defenseman Jake Muzzin put Los Angeles ahead 1-0 at 2:53 of the first period when he banked the puck in off Hertl after outwaiting Jones and drawing him out of his net.
The lead lasted only until Pavelski one-timed a pass from Burns past Jonathan Quick at 6:25 with Kopitar off for interference.
Quick finished with 19 saves.
Video: SJS@LAK, Gm1: Hertl buries loose puck for PPG
The game featured Brown's stick play to stop Ward's wraparound try, a two-pad stack save by Doughty and shots by Pavelski and Tyler Toffoli that rang the post.
"Tonight's game was fun," Pavelski said. "That's L.A. Kings' and Sharks' games ... [the] crowd was great. It was fun to play out there. I'm sure it's going to be even better the next game."
Defensemen Alec Martinez of the Kings and Marc-Edouard Vlasic of the Sharks returned to the lineup after an undisclosed injury and a sprained knee, respectively, but Martinez did not play in the third period.
Kings coach Darryl Sutter did not comment when asked about Martinez.
Video: Pavelski lifts Sharks to Game 1 win