The game was the polar opposite of last season’s second round series in which the Sharks struggled to solve Quick. Los Angeles ended up winning that series in seven, with home ice advantage being a big component. In a series that has been incredibly evenly matched, last night’s game was a surprise. The surprising loss sets up an extremely important second game of the series. In order to capture momentum the Kings will need a big performance and will need to flip the recent history between the two clubs. Over the past two seasons 17 of the last 18 matchups have been won by the home team.The good thing for Los Angeles is they have a proven playoff performer in net with Quick, who will be motivated to make up for an unusual subpar performance. Quick gave up three first period goals for the first time in his NHL playoff career. Quick was pulled for rookie Martin Jones in the third and the Kings made a valiant attempt to storm back into the game with three goals, by Jake Muzzin, Slava Voynov and Trevor Lewis. The three tallies made the score 5-3 before Brent Burns put home an empty netter to set the final margin of 6-3. In game two the Kings will look to recapture the momentum they had in the third period, while standing up to the Sharks physical style. San Jose played near perfect hockey in the first two periods, specifically keeping Drew Doughty off balance with physical play. San Jose also received solid goaltending from Antti Niemi, a major question mark heading into the series. Look for the veteran Kings to bounce back and eliminate some of the sloppy play that turned into odd man rushes and offense from the Sharks third and fourth lines.
Game two of the series is set for Sunday night at the SAP Center in San Jose, with the series making its way to STAPLES Center for games three and four on Tuesday and Thursday of next week. If the Kings can steal game two, behind a solid performance from Quick, they’ll be well positioned to get right back into the series.
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BY: Chris M.