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11 on 11th as Kings Choke 4-0 Lead to Sharks

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A little tiny hockey game played on 11th and Figueroa turned into the game of the Stanley Cup Playoffs so far. It was the 11th goal of the game on 11th street that caused the Kings to choke a 4-0 lead early in the second period to lose to the San Jose Sharks 6-5 in 3:09 in overtime. The Sharks now take a 2-1 series lead in this best-of-seven playoff series.

“This is a game that you don’t expect to happen,” Sharks’ head coach Todd McClellan said. “I don’t think it’ll repeat itself.”

Nothing in this game went according to plan. San Jose came out flat in the first period after being outplayed by an undermanned Kings team on Saturday. They gave up goals 13 seconds apart in the third minute of the game to Willie Mitchell and Kyle Clifford. They even allowed Dustin Penner to finally show up as he made a brilliant pass to Michal Handzus for the 3-0 lead after 18:22.

“He didn’t say anything,” San Jose defenseman Dan Boyle said about what McClellan told them during the first intermission. “He left it up to the players.

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“We just talked about not giving up, not quitting, just getting the first goal.”

Meanwhile Kings’ fans had their chest puffed out in premature celebration of a 2-1 series lead, but little did they know the Kings would need the Heimlich.

Even in the opening minute of the second period it wasn’t evident. Brad Richardson took advantage of a Sharks’ turnover and from the slot slapped the puck past Sharks’ netminder Antti Niemi. Although the goal was unassisted Kyle Clifford did help out after Niemi lost his stick conveniently skating it out of his reach. It was 4-0 Kings and Niemi was sent to the showers.

Then with Antero Nittymaki in the crease the Sharks came storming back. Or, as Kings’ defenseman Matt Greene said, the Kings “took our foot off the pedal there.”

A goal by Patrick Marleau two minutes later; another by Ryan Clowe on the power-play four minutes later; another by Logan Couture at 13:32. Just like that what was once a 4-0 Kings’ lead was trimmed down to 4-3.

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Ryan Smyth seemed to get things settled when he took Jarret Stoll’s cross-ice pass to the vacated right post at 13:47 for the 5-3 lead. But Clowe and Joe Pavelski tied up the game to end the second period.

“We needed to get the puck deep and just move the puck,” Kings’ captain Dustin Brown said. “We only have ourselves to blame.”

Kings’ head coach Terry Murray did agree that his team was to blame.

“They get into a track meet - that’s the game they wanted after getting down 4-0,” Murray said. “We obliged them. All of the problems came our way because of what we were doing.”

The seven goals in the second period came two shy of the NHL record for the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the last time also involving the Kings when they played at the Calgary Flames on April 10, 1990 in the second period. The Kings went on to win that game 12-4.

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After both defenses came back to keep the tension-filled third period scoreless, Devon Setoguchi, trailing teammates Marleau and Joe Thornton on the right wing, skated past Handzus and Penner to knock in the winning goal 3:09 in overtime.

“It’s definitely a little bit of a confidence booster for us,” Setoguchi said about the win.

For the Kings, they will await a day away.

“Tomorrow’s a new day,” Greene said.

And Quick had his mantra, “It’s one game. Just one game.”

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So the 11 on 11th, Stunner at Staples, Fail on Figueroa call it what you will. But this will go down in Kings history alongside the Miracle on Manchester and the Frenzy on Figueroa. Only on this night the puck didn’t go the Kings’ way.

LA Angels defeat Texas Rangers 15-4.
W: Matt Palmer, 1-0 - 6 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 1 HBP.
L: Colby Lewis, 1-2 - 5 IP, 5 H, 4 ER, 3 BB, 3 K, 2 HR, 1 WP.

Atlanta Braves defeat LA Dodgers 10-1.
W: Brandon Beachy, 1-1 - 6 IP, 2 H, 2 BB, 1 IBB, 7 K.
L: Hiroki Kuroda, 2-2 - 6 1/3 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 4 K, 2 HR.

TONIGHT’S ACTION

New Orleans Hornets at LA Lakers. Game 2 of first round of NBA playoffs. Hornets lead series 1-0. 7:30 p.m. TNT, FSWest, AM 710 KSPN.

Anaheim Ducks at Nashville Predators. Game 4 of first round of Stanley Cup playoffs. Predators lead series 2-1. 5:30 p.m. KDOC, AM 1150 KTLK.

Atlanta Braves at LA Dodgers. 7:10 p.m. FS Prime Ticket, AM 790 KABC.

LA Angels at Texas Rangers. 5:05 p.m. KCOP, AM 830 KLAA.