Kings complete comeback, advance to face Ducks

Alex Kinkopf  - | Thursday, 05.01.2014 / 2:36 AM

The mindset never changed, nor did the attitude to stick to a full-embodied game plan.

The Kings’ poise to stay simple, basic, and true to themselves as a group on a consistent basis through trials and tribulations is what carried this roster out of troubling times in order to complete this magical turnaround.

Their uncanny mental strength can be a definite nod to Darryl Sutter.

Their immunity from panic is what kept the Kings alive throughout this series, and that’s what brought them their 5-1 series-clinching victory Wednesday evening at SAP Center.

It was a balanced performance throughout; the Kings played a tight-knit game, not stretching apart like they did in the early stages of the series, making sure there was a core to each play and possession, providing support and protecting the puck away from danger.

Some of the more impressive play from the Kings Wednesday came in their defensive zone, keeping San Jose’s power play scoreless in six opportunities, blocking 23 shots, and holding strong in front and around of Jonathan Quick, who put in a stellar performance of his own, stopping 39 of the Sharks’ 40 shots.

After a scoreless first period which had an overtime feel to start as both clubs got the feel for each other in playing a rather conservative opening 20 minutes, San Jose struck in the opening seconds of the middle frame.

The Kings collapsed in the defensive zone, and Tomas Hertl found Matt Irwin high atop the point, who ripped a snap shot through traffic, beating Jonathan Quick low to the glove side on a shot the Kings’ goaltender couldn’t eyeball.

Irwin’s goal gave San Jose a 1-0 lead :28 seconds into the second period.

After evading more trouble following Irwin’s goal by killing off a Slava Voynov penalty, the Kings flipped the switch and went on the power play themselves as San Jose was called for two consecutive minor infractions.

As the Kings pressured the Sharks, who were in the midst of returning one of their players from the penalty box, Marian Gaborik lasered a shot wide that caromed off the back-boards which Drew Doughty pounced on, and in one motion off his back foot, Doughty lasered a wrister high and over a Antti Niemi who was caught in transition.

Doughty’s goal, his first of the playoffs, knotted the score 1-1 with 15:03 to play in the second period.

The Kings found themselves in more penalty trouble after Doughty’s equalizer as they were called for three consecutive minor infractions. The Kings’ penalty kill though, along with Quick, stymied the Sharks, including a magnificent glove save from Quick on a golden opportunity from Patrick Marleau midway through the period.

In the final moments of the second period, Kyle Clifford recovered the puck in the neutral zone and fed a pass to Justin Williams who was shooting down the right side. Williams, with plenty of room and speed, took the puck wide deep into the corner, then fed a trailing Anze Kopitar with a picture-perfect pass directly in front of Niemi.

Kopitar used Niemi’s momentum on the pass against him, and with a quick shimmy of the shoulders after receiving Williams’ pass, pocketed home the Kings’ second goal of the night high and to the left corner with the chip of a backhand.

Kopitar’s tally gave the Kings a 2-1 lead with just 1:21 to play in the second period.

The Kings would carry that lead with them into the second intermission, and get insurance from Tyler Toffoli less than five minutes into the third.

After chipping a puck ahead to Tanner Pearson as the Kings entered San Jose’s zone, Toffoli raced to the net as Pearson settled the puck down in the corner.

Pearson found Toffoli, completing a little give-and-go dandy, and Toffoli in an instant, beat Antti Niemi high to the left corner, giving the Kings a 3-1 lead with 15:20 remaining in regulation.

It was Toffoli’s third goal of the series.

San Jose, in desperation mode, couldn’t capitalize on a late penalty called on Jake Muzzin, the Kings’ successfully killing off the Sharks’ sixth and final power play of the night.

The Kings then turned to San Jose’s empty net. Dustin Brown gave the Kings a 4-1 lead with 2:07 to play, and Tanner Pearson topped it off, giving the Kings a 5-1 lead with :47.3 remaining on the game clock.

Jonathan Quick, who struggled mightily to start this series, was arguably the best performer Wednesday night, making 39 saves on San Jose’s 40 shots.

With the series win, the Kings have become only 4th NHL team to overcome and win a playoff series after trailing 0-3.

The Kings will face the Anaheim Ducks in the Western Conference Semifinals, which will likely begin this weekend at Honda Center in Orange County. 

Scoring Summary
1st Period
2nd Period
00:28SJS Matt Irwin (1) ASST: Tomas Hertl (3), James Sheppard (4) 1 - 0 SJS
04:57LAK PPG - Drew Doughty (1) ASST: Jeff Carter (4), Marian Gaborik (2) 1 - 1 Tie
18:39LAK Anze Kopitar (4) ASST: Justin Williams (2), Kyle Clifford (1) 2 - 1 LAK
3rd Period
04:40LAK Tyler Toffoli (3) ASST: Tanner Pearson (2), Jake Muzzin (3) 3 - 1 LAK
17:53LAK EN - Dustin Brown (2) ASST: Anze Kopitar (6) 4 - 1 LAK
19:12LAK EN - Tanner Pearson (1) ASST: Trevor Lewis (1) 5 - 1 LAK
Three Stars of the Game
Anze Kopitar
Anze Kopitar
G: 1Shots: 3
A: 1Hits: 1
PTS: 2PIM: 0
+/-: 2TOI: 21:10
Jonathan Quick
Jonathan Quick
SA: 40TOI: 60:00
GA: 1EV: 25-26
PIM: 0PP: 14-14
SV%: .975SH: 0-0
Drew Doughty
Drew Doughty
G: 1Shots: 2
A: 0Hits: 1
PTS: 1PIM: 0
+/-: -1TOI: 25:56
Penalty Summary
1st Period
11:09SJS Dan Boyle  Hi-sticking against  Mike Richards
2nd Period
01:06LAK Slava Voynov  Interference against  Joe Thornton
02:50SJS Tommy Wingels  Hooking against  Jake Muzzin
04:44SJS Logan Couture  Elbowing against  Jake Muzzin
08:13LAK Marian Gaborik  Hooking against  Matt Nieto
11:43LAK Dwight King  Hooking against  Justin Braun
16:08LAK Trevor Lewis  Hooking against  Tommy Wingels
3rd Period
06:15LAK Mike Richards  Hooking against  Joe Pavelski
14:58LAK Jake Muzzin  Delaying Game-Puck over glass
shots by period
Team Stats
Power Plays1/30/6
Faceoff Wins4334
Blocked Shots2316
Penalty Minutes126
2M. GreeneD0010012:43
6J. MuzzinD01-11221:34
8D. DoughtyD10-12025:56
10M. RichardsC0008215:20
11A. KopitarC1123021:10
12M. GaborikR0101213:26
13K. CliffordL0111010:12
14J. WilliamsR0113015:23
22T. LewisC0111213:44
23D. BrownR1013014:50
26S. VoynovD0031222:37
27A. MartinezD0010014:24
28J. StollC00-11016:25
44R. RegehrD0030022:47
70T. PearsonL112209:20
73T. ToffoliC101209:50
74D. KingL0000214:28
77J. CarterC0111014:06
32J. Quick3940.97560:00
5J. DemersD0002020:39
7B. StuartD00-20017:22
8J. PavelskiC00-311023:27
10A. DesjardinsL00-1006:53
12P. MarleauL00-33020:06
13R. TorresL000007:06
15J. SheppardC0113014:22
18M. BrownR000005:33
19J. ThorntonC00-21020:02
22D. BoyleD00-11220:10
27S. HannanD0000016:39
39L. CoutureC00-33218:33
48T. HertlC0113017:22
52M. IrwinD1002020:52
57T. WingelsC0011218:03
61J. BraunD00-20017:36
83M. NietoL00-14013:03
88B. BurnsD00-26019:43
31A. Niemi2528.89358:16