Sharks' Joe Thornton gives love to fans
LOS ANGELES -- Sharks captain Joe Thornton scored his first goal of the playoffs Thursday night, then promptly waved a kiss toward somebody sitting near the corner of the ice.
Just whom exactly, we all wondered? Turns out, nobody he actually knew.
"Just saw some Sharks fans," Thornton said, smiling.
Niemi solidAntti Niemi was pulled in Game 3 after giving up four goals on 10 shots. He was given a chance to redeem himself in Game 4, and he did so with a solid, 35-save performance.
"He looked fresh at the morning skate. It never even crossed my mind that he would have any problems getting back to where he was," teammate Dan Boyle said. "He played a good game."
Kings must regroupKings blueliner Jack Johnson didn't mince words when asked what his team must do next game to stay alive.
"Try to keep them from scoring six goals a game," Johnson said. "They've scored 12 goals in two games. That's embarrassing. We have to pack up, get to San Jose and go there to win a hockey game. Our backs are against a wall. They're a tough team to play, and right now they're playing with a lot of confidence. But we should be a tough team to play against because there's no tomorrow for us. If we lose, it's the season, so we have to go there to win a hockey game and expect nothing else."
Clowe's monster gameRyane Clowe now has four goals in four playoff games this spring. He's a leader on this team, and the club feeds off him.
"If you could design a player, he's pretty much the type of guy you want in the playoffs," Boyle said. "He's a big, strong guy that can score and play physical. He's plays good in the D-zone and protects the puck. He wears the other team's defensemen down. He's been great for us."
Third lineJoe Pavelski's third line with Torrey Mitchell and Kyle Wellwood scored two goals for the Sharks, and really three, if you count Wellwood assisting on Thornton's goal.
"The Pavelski line is always underestimated," McLellan said. "They fly under the radar, but they're very dangerous."
Wellwood had a great forecheck behind the net on Thornton's goal. He's been a nice fit since coming back to the NHL from Russia.