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Defense Falters Again as Kings on the Brink of Elimination

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Done and over. Like a piece of overcooked steak, so are the Kings hopes in this first-round playoff series against the San Jose Sharks. After blowing a four-goal lead on Tuesday to lose 6-5 in overtime, the Kings lost their poise down the stretch as they lose 6-3 and trail the series three games to one with Game 5 in San Jose.

“That’s embarrassing,” defenseman Jack Johnson said. “They’ve scored 12 goals in two games.”

“Unacceptable,” captain Dustin Brown muttered.

Everything looked all right in the first period that got the crowd loud and hopeful especially when the Kings killed off a one minute, 22 second five-on-three power-play. Goaltender Jonathan Quick came up big during that time saving all four shots he faced during that time.

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“It was a pretty good game,” head coach Terry Murray said about the first period. “We killed off a five-on-three, that’s a pretty good game.”

But the play that turned the tide was at 3:14 in the second period when Sharks’ center Scott Nichol and Kings’ defenseman Drew Doughty got tangled up with one another. They both got roughing minor penalties resulting in a four-on-four situation with the Kings missing their best defenseman.

“Give Nichol credit, he’s the reason they won tonight,” Murray remarked.

The Sharks during those two minutes got goals by Ryan Clowe and Jason Demers that went off of Kings’ defenseman Alec Martinez’s stick.

But in a matter of five-and-a-half minutes in the second period the Kings’ playoff series went from hopeful to woeful. During a four-on-four opportunity thanks to roughing penalties on Drew Doughty and Scott Nichol the Sharks scored twice: first by Ryan Clowe at 3:58 and the second at 5:12 credited to Jason Demers that went off of Kings’ defenseman Alec Martinez’s stick.

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And just to make things even direr while Matt Greene was sent off for a high-stick four minute double-minor, Clowe scored his second goal at 9:28.

The Kings did their best attempt at a comeback with Brad Richardson getting one back at 11:00 and Justin Williams credited with another at 16:04 that went off of Marc-Edouard Vlasic’s stick.

“I liked our competition to make it a 3-2 game,” Murray said.

But with the Kings still having a pulse as they skated out for the third period, the Sharks just stomped on the beating heart. Within a minute the two Joes - Joe Thornton and Joe Pavelski - gave the Sharks the 5-2 lead with goals at 2:28 and 3:22 sealed with a kiss.

“That’s sometimes hard to explain,” Murray noted.

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“We had some missed coverages again,” defenseman Willie Mitchell said.

For a team that prides itself on defense it’s confounding that they would give up 12 goals in two home games. Or as Williams said, “the math certainly doesn’t add up.”

“A lot of it comes down to working hard,” Brown said. “We haven’t’ been doing that on a consistent basis, player to player, line to line. We have to find a way to get back to how we were playing the first two games.”

LA Dodgers defeat Atlanta Braves 5-3 (12).

Boston Red Sox defeat LA Angels 4-2 (11).

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LA Lakers at New Orleans Hornets. Game 3 of first round series in NBA Playoffs. Series tied 1-1. 6:30 p.m. ESPN, KCAL, AM 710 KSPN.

Nashville Predators at Anaheim Ducks. Game 5 of first round of Stanley Cup Playoffs. Series tied 2-2. 7:00 p.m. FS Prime Ticket, AM 1150 KTLK.

LA Dodgers at Chicago Cubs. 11:20 a.m. FS Prime Ticket, WGN, AM 790 KABC.

Boston Red Sox at LA Angels. 7:05 p.m. FSWest, AM 830 KLAA.