LOS ANGELES -- The San Jose Sharks sprung another surprise on the Los Angeles Kings in Game 2 of their Western Conference First Round series, powering to a 2-1 victory at Staples Center on Saturday. San Jose leads the best-of-7 series 2-0.
What we learned: The Sharks can play the same suffocating brand of defense that has been the Kings' stock-in-trade for the past five years. Los Angeles had five shots in the first period and two in the first 10 minutes of the second. San Jose was not much more industrious but did not need to be after scoring on its first shot and on a 5-on-3 power play in the second period to take control.
What this means for Sharks: Breathing room. San Jose heads back to the Bay Area with a 2-0 lead in the series and three of the final five games at SAP Center. The Sharks have a far bigger margin of error now than they did when this series opened Thursday, but it is unlikely that complacency will accompany that knowledge. They had a 3-0 series lead on the Kings two years ago and watched helplessly as Los Angeles found the wherewithal to string together four consecutive victories to deliver the most painful Stanley Cup Playoff series loss in their history.
What this means for Kings: Desperation. Nothing has worked right for Los Angeles in this series. San Jose has scored on its first shot in each game. The Kings blew two one-goal leads in Game 1. They never led in Game 2. Their power play has been ineffective, and their penalty kill has had breakdowns. Alec Martinez, their second-most valuable defenseman, didn't even last two periods in the series before leaving with an undisclosed injury. Their forward lines, stable for so long, were in a blender throughout Game 2. Sharks goalie Martin Jones, a former Kings farmhand, has stymied them at almost every turn so far. Now, they have to win four of the remaining five games, fueled mainly by the knowledge that it is imminently possible after pulling off an even more difficult task -- four in a row -- two years ago.
Key moment: Kings forward Kris Versteeg drew a penalty on Sharks center Nick Spaling with 1:43 remaining in the second period. San Jose led 2-0, and Los Angeles was looking for momentum heading into intermission. Instead, Jones made three saves, including one with a quick-reaction stop on a backhand shot off a rebound by Milan Lucic and another on a short-range wrist shot by Jeff Carter. San Jose's Patrick Marleau also blocked a slap shot from Los Angeles defenseman Jamie McBain to frustrate the Kings heading into the dressing room.
Video: SJS@LAK, Gm2: Jones turns away Muzzin, Lucic
Unsung player of the game: San Jose defenseman Paul Martin rarely gets noticed playing in the shadow of his more flamboyant partner, Brent Burns, but Martin was at his understated best Saturday. He played 19:44, he was among the primary contributors on a penalty kill that stymied the Kings on four of five opportunities, he blocked three shots, and he had five hits, a Sharks high.
What's next: Game 3 is at SAP Center on Monday (10:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports, PRIME, CSN-CA). The Kings will need every minute between games to regroup from being swept at home.