Kings Reanimated in Game 5 Win
For the first 38 minutes of the game, the standing-room only crowd of 18,584 in addition to the countless people watching on television looked like they would all have to go to the pharmacy to pick up some Preparation H. Which is a fancy way of saying that the game was tight and tense. Every rush and scoring chance elicited a response from the crowd.
It was a far cry from what happened in Game 4 in San Jose where it seemed the Kings were absent for the first 30 minutes. From the opening faceoff the Kings were on their game aided by head coach Darryl Sutter's juggled lines. Kyle Clifford joined Justin Williams on the Anze Kopitar-centered line while the line of Mike Richards, Dustin Penner and Jeff Carter was reunited.
"It's definitely a step in the right direction," Brown said. "There's still room to improve as a group, but that was a solid effort."
Through the 38 minutes the Kings had attempted 45 shots while holding the Sharks to only 22. The only problem was that for as well as the Kings were playing they had nothing to show for it. Sharks goaltender Antti Niemi saved all 15 shots he saw.
The Kings stood their ground and continued to sustain pressure against Niemi. It started to go wrong for Niemi when he lost his stick. Finally the puck squeaked through to Niemi. A rebound found the stick of Kopitar. And the rest is history.
Even Tom Cruise approved which you can see above.
"It is a little bit of a relief," Kopitar said scoring only his second goal of the playoffs and his first since Game 4 of the St. Louis Series.
In the first minute of the third period with the Kings still on the power play, Trevor Lewis won a faceoff in the right circle. The puck squirted out to Slava Voynov just as the power play expired. Voynov moved to the top of the right circle and shot the puck past Niemi who was screened. 2-0 Kings.
Carter added an empty-netter in the final minute of the game for the 3-0 win.
The teams head up to San Jose for Game 6 on Sunday. The home team has won every game this season which bodes well for the Kings since they have home-ice advantage. But they would really like to close it out on Sunday.
"Right now it's one game," Brown said. "We're going up to San Jose to win it. They have a tough building, but it's up to the guys in this room to do what's necessary to win the game."
Matt Greene didn't overanalyze what it will take to clinch the series on the road. "Just got to get a win. Got to look forward to it and play a hard game."
Just be physical.
By the NHL statistics, the Kings outhit the Sharks by a 51-24 margin.
"Game 5 coming into their building they were going to have a hard push," Sharks head coach Todd McLellan said. While they absorbed the initial wave, eventually they gave way.
It was the first time this entire postseason that they resembled the playoff team they were last season. Granted their bottom two lines aren't much of a factor as they were last season. But the intensity they showed up and down the bench is what they will need to not bring the series back home on Tuesday.
With 24 saves, Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick recorded his seventh career playoff shutout setting a Kings record. It is his third playoff shutout this season tying the mark he set last year. And with his 27th playoff win he surpassed Kelly Hrudey for the Kings record.
"I remember watching him when I was growing up," Quick commented. "He was very competitive and hated to lose obviously. Being able to pass him on that list, it's an accomplishment."
But as always Quick was reluctant to hog up all of the spotlight.
"But wins are team accomplishments, so you got to give credit to the guys you play with. I'm very fortunate to be on a team with guys that care about winning so much."
During a moment of silence for the victims of the Moore, Okla. tornadoes, a Sharks fan yelled out, "Let's go Sharks!" I may be an atheist and about as insensitive as they come, but that is just tasteless and classless. What a fucking prick.