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game recap

Sharks eliminate Kings with Game 5 victory

Donskoi scores twice, including winner at 3:58 of the third period

by Abbey Mastracco / Correspondent

LOS ANGELES -- Joonas Donskoi scored twice, including the tiebreaking goal 3:58 into the third period, and the San Jose Sharks eliminated the Los Angeles Kings from the Stanley Cup Playoffs with a 6-3 win in Game 5 of the Western Conference First Round at Staples Center on Friday.

San Jose won the best-of-7 series 4-1 and will play either the Anaheim Ducks or Nashville Predators in the Western Conference Second Round; the Ducks and Predators series is tied 2-2. The Sharks advanced past the first round for the first time since 2013; the Kings defeated the Sharks in the second round in 2013 and the first round in 2014.

"I haven't been around here for some of the stuff that's gone on in the past, but I'm sure for some guys, they felt like we exorcised some demons tonight," Sharks coach Peter DeBoer said. "For the group in general, it was just a well-earned victory."

San Jose took a 3-0 lead but the Kings scored three times in the second period to tie the game. There were two chances for the Sharks to create more separation, a two-man advantage in the first period and a penalty shot in the second, but they failed to capitalize on either and the Kings felt they could take advantage.

Video: SJS@LAK, Gm5: Nieto scores off of Ward's feed

"Once we got out there for the third, unfortunately we weren't able to sustain what we built in the second," Kings forward Milan Lucic said. "They were able to get out of the zone and scramble in front of the net and make it count. It seems like all series long we were able to capitalize on their chances and we weren't in front of the net. That's why we end up on the losing side of things."

Drawing on veteran leadership, the Sharks were able to keep their composure in the third period.

"The message to the group (at the second intermission) was more about we're here, we're in this position, it doesn't really matter how we got here," Sharks captain Joe Pavelski said. "We'd like to perform a little better with a 3-0 lead but we're in a position where 20 minutes will work and win a period and close out a series. Guys really grasped on to that."

Logan Couture set up Donskoi's second goal from behind the net. With Kings defenseman Drew Doughty near him, Couture got the puck to defenseman Brent Burns in front, and he fed Donskoi for the winner.

Video: SJS@LAK, Gm5: Donskoi lights the lamp twice in win

With 7:36 left, Pavelski scored his fourth goal of the series to make it 5-3. 

Melker Karlsson, Chris Tierney and Matt Nieto scored for San Jose, and Burns had three assists. Goalie Martin Jones made 19 saves.

Anze Kopitar, Jeff Carter and Kris Versteeg scored for Los Angeles, and Jonathan Quick made 22 saves.

The Kings said they came into the playoffs on shaky ground. The final two weeks of the regular season ultimately set the tone for an early exit.

"Starting from when we cliched the playoff spot, I think we only played one really good game and that was at home against the Ducks," Lucic said. "It's definitely disappointing from how hard we worked in the season to when we clinched a spot as fast as we could that we didn't make the most of it.

"We can make excuses all we want with [defenseman Alec Martinez] being out of the lineup and this and that, but at the end of the day we didn't play the right way when we needed to and it ended up costing us."

Video: SJS@LAK, Gm5: Pavelski pads the Sharks' lead in 3rd

Kopitar made it 3-1 at 7:44 of the second period, and Carter made it 3-2 at 11:26 when he was left alone in front and snapped one high over Jones. Versteeg knocked in a rebound with 3:24 left in the period to tie the game 3-3.

The second-period outburst came after the Kings were outshot 13-4 in the first.

For the fourth time in the series, the Sharks scored on their first shot of the game when Donskoi skated into the right circle untouched and sniped one past Quick 1:08 into the game. Tierney made it 2-0 at 11:21 when he banked one in off the post.

Nieto put San Jose up 3-0 at 4:05 of the second. The Sharks had a chance to go up 4-0 less than two minutes later when Patrick Marleau was awarded a penalty shot after Kings defenseman Jake Muzzin hooked him on a breakaway, but Quick made the save.

Karlsson scored into an empty net with 22 seconds remaining.

Video: Donskoi scores twice in Sharks' series-clinching win

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