April 23, 2011
SHARKS PAGE SHARKS VIDEO
NHL STANDINGS NHL SCOREBOARD
Sharks lead best-of-seven series, 3-1
Scott Parse Michal Handzus Justin Williams Ryan Smyth Trevor Lewis Dustin Brown Kyle Clifford Brad Richardson Wayne Simmonds Dustin Penner Jarret Stoll Kevin Westgarth
Willie Mitchell Drew Doughty
Jack Johnson Rob Scuderi
Matt Greene Alec Martinez
Patrick Marleau Joe Thornton Devin Setoguchi Dany Heatley Logan Couture Ryane Clowe Torrey Mitchell Joe Pavelski Kyle Wellwood Ben Eager Scott Nichol Jamal Mayers
Douglas Murray Dan Boyle
Marc-Edouard Vlasic Jason Demers
Ian White Niclas Wallin
After struggling through the first three games of the series and in danger of losing his starting job, Antti Niemi responded with a strong effort in Game 4, making 35 saves in a 6-3 Sharks win. Niemi was pulled in favor of Antero Niittymaki after giving up four goals in just over 20 minutes in Game 3, so it was an important rebound effort for the Finland native.
Jonathan Quick will once again start for Los Angeles despite allowing 12 goals in the last two games, although he cant be faulted for many of them. Quicks 3.49 goals-against average and .894 save percentage are slightly better than Niemis 3.63 and .877 stat line.
The biggest question headed into Game 4 was, how would the Kings react to their historic collapse in Game 3? The answer was, not very well. The Sharks jumped out to a 3-0 lead, and although the Kings came back to within a goal after two periods, San Jose took over again early in the third.
The Kings did control Game 2 at HP Pavilion, however, and claimed a 4-0 victory on the Sharks home ice. They will have to duplicate that effort tonight if they want to keep their season alive.
There arent expected to be any lineup changes for the Sharks, who have gotten contributions from just about everyone since they began mounting their epic Game 3 comeback. In fact, no less than 12 of their regulars have at least two points in the series.
Los Angeles, on the other hand, will insert winger Scott Parse into the lineup according to media reports. Parse hasnt played since November 15, and had a goal and three assists in five games before hip surgery. Parse may take the place of Dustin Penner, who has been a bust with the Kings since arriving via trade from Edmonton.
Ryane Clowe has seven points in the series, including back-to-back two-goal games, and is tied for second in the NHL in playoff scoring. Joe Pavelski has scored a goal in three of the four games, while defenseman Ian Whites five assists lead the team.
Los Angeles best line in the series has surprisingly been Kyle Clifford, Brad Richardson and Wayne Simmonds, which has combined for eight points.
Its quite possible that the Kings are already finished from a mental standpoint. The aforementioned Game 3 train wreck was obviously the turning point, as the Kings looked poised to take a 2-1 lead in the series with Game 4 at home before everything fell apart. They will have their hands full against a Sharks offense that is firing on all cylinders and will benefit from the added energy provided by its home crowd.
Give the Sharks credit they smelled blood in Game 4 and took full advantage of a wounded opponent, which is something that good playoff teams do. Now, they just have to finish them off.