Thursday, April 5, 2012
Kings: Jarret Stoll and Dustin Brown score for 3-2 lead on Sharks
By Dan Arritt
After the 2nd period:
Kings 3, San Jose Sharks 2
The good: After spending most of the first seven minutes killing penalties, the Kings got back to the business of shooting pucks at the Sharks net. Dustin Brown had a productive period, drawing a penalty 8:21 into the period after Daniel Winnik jabbed him in the back of the head and Brown turned into a rag doll, similar to what San Jose forward Logan Couture did late in the first period to draw a five-minute boarding penalty on Kyle Clifford (Couture, who acted as if he suffered a major injury after the hit, was back on the ice to start the second period). On the ensuing power play, Willie Mitchell took a shot at the San Jose net from the point and the rebound came off goalie Antti Niemi. He tried to corral the puck in with his stick, but couldn’t gain possession before he was bombarded by Alec Martinez, Dwight King and Jarret Stoll. The puck got lost in the crowd of bodies, but Stoll spotted it sliding through the pads of Niemi and gave it an extra nudge for his first goal in the last 39 games. Before the power play, the Kings hadn’t taken a shot on goal since 5:09 remained in the first period. Brown then gave the Kings a 3-1 lead when Anze Kopitar carried the puck with speed through the neutral zone and dumped it to a trailing Brown. He took a couple strides with the puck and released it into the top left corner for his 22nd goal of the season and Kopitar’s 50th assist.
The bad: With the intensity level boiling over, Kings goalie Jonathan Quick made the unwise decision to shove Dominic Moore as he skated behind the net in pursuit of the puck. That move earned Quick a needless interference penalty and the Sharks cashed in. Joe Thornton beat Quick with a wrist shot with 28 seconds remaining in the period, cutting the deficit back to one. If the Kings don’t hold on to win this game, and that ends up costing them the Pacific Division title, that could go down as the most ill-advised penalty of the season.
The in between: Clifford went to the penalty box for another five minutes, but this time he earned his seat on the bench, taking on Ryan Clowe in the game’s third fight. It was a good trade off for the Kings, as Clowe has 43 points this season and Clifford has 12. San Jose forward Torrey Mitchell has not returned after taking a first-period hit from Colin Fraser of the Kings.