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Sharks' seven-goal blitz routs Kings

by Corey Masisak

SAN JOSE -- The San Jose Sharks had all kinds of trouble solving Los Angeles Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick during a seven-game series loss in the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs. That has not been a problem so far in 2014.

San Jose poured seven goals past Quick in a span of less than 26 minutes Sunday night, erasing an early two-goal deficit en route to another convincing victory, 7-2, in Game 2 of the Western Conference First Round and a 2-0 lead in this series.

"It's just been a couple of great nights for us offensively," defenseman Justin Braun said. "Shored up a few things defensively, [Goaltender Antti Niemi] has bailed us out a few times. But you can't be that disappointed with that many goals in two games. It's been good so far at home."

Seven different Sharks scored Sunday, three days after six different guys in black did the same in a 6-3 victory in Game 1. The Kings will need to find an answer for San Jose's speed and efficiency on the rush in a hurry, because Game 3 of this series is Tuesday night at Staples Center (10 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS, CSN-CA, PRIME).

The Sharks had seven goals against Quick after Game 5 of their Western Conference Semifinal series last season. They put seven past him in 25:41 on Sunday. San Jose scored 10 goals on Quick in the 2013 postseason series; they had 12 against him and another into an empty net barely past the midpoint of Game 2 in this one.

"I don't really know if it's one thing in particular," Kings captain Dustin Brown said. "Again, we gave up a lot of odd-man rushes. Even in the first [period] when we were up 2-0, they had a lot of good chances. We need all 20 guys to be on top of their game."

San Jose's fourth line played only one game together in the regular season, but two games into this series it looks like a prophetic configuration by coach Todd McLellan. Mike Brown and Raffi Torres scored to rally the Sharks from a 2-0 deficit during a three-goal outburst in the second period.

Los Angeles defenseman Matt Greene put a pass from behind his net off the skates of forward Kyle Clifford along the right wall, and the puck came to Sharks center Andrew Desjardins. He found Mike Brown for a one-timer from near the top of the right circle at 4:25 of the period to make it 2-1. It was Brown's first career Stanley Cup Playoffs goal.

Torres evened the score at 2-2 less than five minutes later. He connected with Desjardins in the neutral zone, then skated in behind him for a drop pass and a shot from nearly the same spot as Brown's goal at 9:04.

Greene stayed with Desjardins after the pass and no one was available to pick up Torres, who scored for the second time in as many games in this series and has five goals and seven points in the seven contests he's been able to play this season.

"It's huge," Torres said. "You just look at all the teams that go deep and win games in the playoffs, everybody is contributing. Tonight it was our line to get it going and then big guys took over. [Niemi] shut the door after a few goals. It's good to see. Hopefully everybody will keep getting some more confidence. We will have a big test in a couple of nights. We need to keep it going."

Braun put San Jose in front 3-2 at 14:45. Quick parried away a shot by James Sheppard from the left wall, but the puck came to Braun at the right point. The Los Angeles goaltender never saw Braun's quick shot through traffic.

The Sharks' onslaught continued into the third period. Los Angeles continued to have no trouble finding time in the San Jose end with the puck, but the Kings weren't able to turn that into much and became vulnerable on the counterattack.

Patrick Marleau made it 4-2 at 1:08. After a long shift in the Sharks end, Matt Nieto fed Marleau during a 3-on-2 break and he beat Quick above his blocker to the short side.

Joe Pavelski, who moved from the wing on the first line to the middle on the third unit after his first shift in the second period -- just before the Sharks' goal binge began -- made it 5-2 at 4:07. A turnover in the neutral zone just as the Kings were in the midst of a line change gave the Sharks a 3-on-0 break; Pavelski kept the puck and snapped a shot into the top right corner.

Logan Couture was left alone in front and pushed the lead to 6-2 on a feed from Marleau at 8:08. Joe Thornton scored San Jose's seventh during a two-man advantage at 10:06.

"You could tell they were frustrated and they were running around and I guess being cheap," said Couture, who was speared by Mike Richards late in the third period. "Just stick to our plan and take the power plays and move on."

Jake Muzzin gave the Kings an early lead after a full shift of work in the Sharks' zone. Drew Doughty fed Justin Williams for a shot from the right circle, and the rebound popped into the air in the slot. Anze Kopitar tracked it down and bumped it over to Doughty, who sent a pass to the right point for Muzzin. His shot beat Niemi through a screen provided by Marian Gaborik and the Kings led at 1:51. Muzzin scored the first goal of the game for Los Angeles for the second straight game.

Trevor Lewis made it a 2-0 lead midway through the period. Quick made three saves on quality scoring chances for the Sharks, one on Marleau and two on Tommy Wingels, before Jeff Carter won a battle for the puck along the wall and found Lewis cutting to the net. He deflected Carter's pass behind Niemi for his second goal of this series.

"It obviously stinks sitting here talking after another lopsided loss, but they did what they set out to do. Now it is response time," Kings forward Justin Williams said. "Now we're coming back to our rink. We won the first two in our arena last year and they came back and won the next two in theirs. We're looking to repeat that but we have to start with one.

"Plain and simple, their players beat ours every way tonight."

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