Thursday, April 21, 2011
Kings: Sharks lead, 3-2, after another wild second period
By Dan Arritt
Western Conference quarterfinals
Game 4 (San Jose leads best-of-seven series, 2-1)
After the 2nd period:
San Jose Sharks 3, Kings 2
The good: After blowing a four-goal second-period lead in Game 3, the Kings started their own comeback from three goals down. Brad Richardson beat San Jose goalie Antti Niemi to a loose puck after Ryan Smyth sent a shot on net from the boards and swept it into the net to trim the score to 3-1 with nine minutes left in the period. It was Richardson's second straight game with a playoff goal after scoring just seven during the regular season. The Kings then made it 3-2 with just under four minutes remaining. Justin Williams recovered a loose puck in the neutral zone, raced down the left side and passed the puck to Smyth coming down the slot. The puck deflected off the stick of Sharks defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic and into the net, giving Williams his second goal of the series.
The bad: With Kings defenseman Drew Doughty and San Jose center Scott Nichol serving roughing penalties after a brief scuffle near center ice, the Kings had a good chance to take a 1-0 lead while playing 4-on-4. Michal Handzus passed the puck from behind the San Jose net to Dustin Brown in the slot but Brown whiffed, sending the Sharks off on a 2-on-1. Vlasic passed to Ryane Clowe on his right but the puck was out of reach. Clowe chased it down in the right-wing corner and sent a cross pass that skidded past the front of the net but went off the stick of Kings rookie defenseman Alec Martinez and past the goal line. That seemed to break the seal as the Sharks scored twice more in the next 5 ½ minutes to take a 3-0 lead.
The in between: Maybe Jonathan Quick can just skip the second period next game. Quick shut out the Sharks in the opening period for the third straight game but seemed to lose his focus after San Jose got on the scoreboard. Quick has allowed eight goals in the last two second periods. If another gets by, the Kings will have a tough time coming back.