Western Conference quarterfinals
Game 3 (Series tied, 1-1)
After the 1st period:
Kings 5, San Jose Sharks 5
The good: Not much positive to write about when the home team blows a four-goal lead early in the second period. The only bright spot was the offense did manage to tack two more points on the board. The Kings didn’t waste any time adding to their lead three-goal lead after the first intermission. Brad Richardson intercepted a pass in his offensive zone and scored an unassisted goal 44 seconds into the second period for a 4-0 lead. The goal was the second of the game for the Richardson line and third by the bottom two lines. San Jose pulled goalie Antti Niemi after the goal and inserted Antero Niittymaki, who must have brought his good-luck charm. Before the Sharks scored twice in the final 85 seconds to tie the score, Ryan Smyth scored what seemed like a huge goal for the Kings to regain their two-goal cushion. Smyth's goal came 15 seconds after the Sharks had cut the deficit to 4-3. Jarret Stoll brought the puck down the left side and slid a beautiful centering pass to Smyth at the right post and he tucked the puck into the net with 6:13 remaining in the period.
The bad: Just when the Kings thought they could relax and enjoy the lead, the Sharks scored twice in just under four minutes to cut the deficit in half, then twice more in the final two minutes to tie the score and hush the Staples Center crowd. About 2 ½ minutes after taking the four-goal lead, Dan Boyle faked a slap shot and instead sent the puck just wide to Patrick Marleau, who redirected it into the net with Kings defenseman Matt Greene on his back. The Sharks then went on the power play after Dustin Penner was called for roughing and they capitalized with 17 seconds left on the man advantage as Ryane Clowe tipped in a cross pass from rookie Logan Couture with 13:07 left in the period. The damage didn’t end there as the Sharks cut into the deficit again while skating 4-on-4. Ian White, who sat out the last game after taking a hard lick that earned Stoll a one-game suspension for Game 2, slid a cross pass to Couture who had nothing but an open side of the net to shoot at. After the Kings made it 5-3 on Smyth's goal, the Sharks delivered a couple daggers as Clowe and Joe Pavelski took advantage of some poor clearing attempts by the Kings and put the puck past Kings goalie Jonathan Quick, who is still in the game despite allowing five goals on 25 shots.
The in between: One of the biggest cheers of the period was for Anze Kopitar, the team’s leading scorer who was captured on the big screen watching from the press box. Kopitar went down with an ankle injury with seven games remaining in the regular season and lost for the playoffs. Kopitar looked as if he'd much rather be earning cheers on the ice and the Kings could sure use him about now.