April 19, 2011
By Kevin Kurz
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NHL STANDINGS NHL SCOREBOARD
Series tied 1-1
Jonathan Quick has outplayed Antti Niemi to this point, and the numbers reflect that. Quick has a 1.34 goals against average and .962 save percentage, while Niemis Game 2 struggles give him a 2.68 and .897 statline. Quick has benefited from a better defense, though, and the Sharks defenders have to do a better job of allowing Niemi to see the puck on shots from the point or block them at the point of contact.
An evenly played Game 1 in which Joe Pavelskis overtime goal was the difference, was followed by a dominant performance by Los Angeles in Saturday nights 4-0 Game 2 Kings win. Drew Doughtys four-point night paced Los Angeles.
The series now shifts to Los Angeles, where the Sharks were 1-0-2 this season and scored just six combined goals in the three games.
It looks like the Sharks will get Ian White back for Game 3 after he had to sit out Saturday with the dreaded upper body injury. Los Angeles will have forward Jarret Stoll back from a one-game suspension levied upon him for hitting White into the boards from behind.
In news that wont have any impact on the game, Sharks rookie forward Logan Couture was named as a Calder Trophy finalist earlier in the day.
Doughtys career night was the big story in Game 2, as he scored twice and added two assists. Quick is leading the league in save percentage through two games.
On the San Jose side, Ryane Clowe has three assists to lead the team in points, but no one has more than a single point otherwise.
The annual search for Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau in a first round playoff series is well underway. The players who make up two-thirds of the teams top scoring line are both without a point. Devin Setoguchi, the final cog in that line, has also not found the scoresheet. At some point these guys, who are a combined -5, will have to put the puck in the net.
The Sharks are also losing the special teams battle. They are 0-for-7 with the man advantage through two games, and have allowed three power play goals to Los Angeles.
The Kings seem intent on out-working the Sharks, especially after many had written them off when leading scorer Anze Kopitar went down with a leg injury. Whether or not the Sharks can match their intensity the rest of the series will be paramount.
San Jose is one of just two NHL teams to have seven 20-goal scorers on its roster. That being said, can the Sharks win the series if their top line fails to produce?