Sharks sweep Kings in L.A. for 3-1 series lead

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Sharks sweep Kings in L.A. for 3-1 series lead

April 21, 2011

BOX SCORE SHARKS VIDEONHLPAGE NHL SCOREBOARD
RATTO: Sharks discover cure for 3-goal lead in Game 4

LOS ANGELES (AP) The Sharks and Kings skated through a scoreless opening period. Then Scott Nichol lured Los Angeles star defenseman Drew Doughty off the ice with offsetting roughing penalties, opening the door to three straight goals by San Jose.The Kings never fully recovered.Ryane Clowe scored twice, Jason Demers added another goal in the second period and the Sharks won 6-3 on Thursday night to take a 3-1 lead in the first-round series."Nichol is the reason why they won," Kings coach Terry Murray said. "Three goals were directly responsible for Nichol's game."Joe Thornton and Joe Pavelski scored in a 54-second span early in the third and Torrey Mitchell followed with his first goal of the playoffs to extend the Sharks' lead."I don't know what it is," Doughty said. "They're scoring easy goals. We're giving them tap-in goals and that's not something we usually do."The Sharks return to San Jose for Game 5 on Saturday night having swept the Kings on their home ice."It's a great opportunity," Clowe said. "You take a 3-1 lead and you're going back to home ice to wrap it up. We should be fired up and we should want to close it out right there."Los Angeles gave up 12 goals in its two home games."That's embarrassing," Jack Johnson said. "We're not going to win a game if they score six goals a game. We're a defensive team and if we're letting in that many goals we're in a lot of trouble."The Kings had a 5-on-3 for much of the final 3 minutes after Dany Heatley was penalized for tripping and Nichol got a 10-minute misconduct, but they failed to convert. The frustrated Kings got two 10-minute misconducts themselves in the closing seconds.Murray was incensed by Heatley's tripping of Alec Martinez, saying the move could have caused a broken leg or injured knee."That's a gutless move," Murray said. "You don't do that in hockey."The Kings kept their dressing room closed for more than 10 minutes afterward. Even mascot Bailey had his furry head buried in his paws as he leaned on a piece of equipment in the hallway."Terry is not happy with us," Doughty said about his coach's postgame speech. "We're not happy with each other. We got to clean it up."The teams combined for five goals in the second - two fewer than they scored in the middle period in Game 3, when the Kings blew a four-goal lead to lose 6-5 in their second overtime defeat of the series."Last game was a wild one, nobody really expected that one, but tonight was more of our game," Clowe said. "Better start, better 60 minutes and not too many ups and downs. It was a grind it down game, the game we needed to play."Antti Niemi made 35 saves while back in goal for the Sharks after being pulled for giving up four consecutive goals to the Kings before their collapse Tuesday."The thing about him, he's determined to come back with a real good one," Sharks coach Scott McLellan said. "I thought he was exceptional. In the second half of the game, he made some tremendous saves."Jonathan Quick was solid in the first period for Los Angeles, but soon fell apart in losing his second straight. He stopped 21 shots."We just weren't good enough," he said. "We let the game get away from us early in the third. That definitely wasn't us in the last two games. We got a lot to prove to ourselves and the fans."The Sharks stunned Quick with two quick goals to open the third. Thornton was waiting in front of the net and scored on Patrick Marleau's pass at 2:28, then blew kisses to the crowd in celebration of his first goal of the series.San Jose went up 5-2 on Pavelski's slap shot from the blue line at 3:22 that made it 5-2. The Sharks scored their sixth goal when Mitchell got a rebound with 8:18 to go.Los Angeles cut it to 6-3 when Alexei Ponikarovsky's shot from the left point found the top of the net with 6:49 left."Whatever happened in the third with giveaways, turnovers and lost faceoffs, that's sometimes hard to explain," Murray said.The Kings haven't won a playoff series since beating Detroit in the 2001 Western Conference quarterfinals. They are 1-9 in series when they fall behind 3-1.This time, San Jose built a 3-0 lead in the second only to have the Kings close to 3-2 by the end of the period, when they outshot the Sharks 17-10.Clowe and Demers scored 1:14 apart before Clowe added his second goal.Clowe's first goal capped a 2-on-1 when he scored behind Quick's back at 3:58. Demers made it 2-0 when he beat a fully sprawled Quick on the left side at 5:12. Both goals came with the teams skating 4-on-4 with Nichol and Doughty off for roughing."You just don't want to lose your top defenseman to a player of that stature," Murray said.With Matt Greene serving a double-minor for high-sticking, Clowe scored on the power play at 9:28. Quick swiped his left hand at the puck too late and the Sharks led 3-0.The Kings rallied with two goals later in the second. Ryan Smyth's slap shot sailed wide right and Brad Richardson came around the net to push the puck in with 9 minutes left.Justin Williams then scored off a deflection 3:56 left.NOTES: The family of Bryan Stow, the San Francisco Giants fan who was severely beaten after the Dodgers' season opener last month, attended the game as guests of both teams. The Sharks paid for the family's tickets and the Kings bought their dinner. ... Smyth has a point in all four games of the series. ... San Jose's Logan Couture, Kyle Wellwood and Ian White each had two assists. ... The announced crowd of 18,234 was the second straight standing-room only sellout. ... The Kings' Murray is one away from his 50th career playoff victory.

Rewind: Warriors' dominance over Clippers in 'rivalry' continues

Rewind: Warriors' dominance over Clippers in 'rivalry' continues

LOS ANGELES – Once robust, the fabled Warriors-Clippers rivalry is rapidly going the way of the typewriter.

When the Warriors strolled walked into Staples Center Wednesday night and laid a 115-98 mashing on LA, prompting much of the sellout crowd streaming toward the exits in the fourth quarter, it was seventh consecutive time they have throttled the Clippers.

More deflating for the Clippers and perhaps the rest of the NBA is that this much-hyped game, with LA’s new and improved defense ranking No. 1 in the league, was supposed to be more competitive than the previous six losses.

It was, instead, a 17-point victory, the biggest Warriors rout yet.

Though the Warriors shot a respectable 47.7 percent (but only 23.3 percent beyond the arc) and also lost a tight rebounding battle, 46-45, they did most everything else so well the Clippers were done before the first quarter was over.

They had 32 assists and only 11 turnovers. They held LA to 39.6-percent shooting, while forcing 14 turnovers, leading to 16 Warriors points.

“Defensively, that’s where we won the game,” Kevin Durant said.

“If we defend like that and take care of the ball, even on a night when shots aren’t going in, we have a chance to win anywhere,” coach Steve Kerr said. “Even on the road against a great team.”

The Warriors (19-3) locked up star forward Blake Griffin, holding him to 12 points on 5-of-20 shooting – and an unsightly seven turnovers – mostly under the unyielding defense of Draymond Green.

In a game circled on their calendar, the Clippers’ starting five finished with 41 points – less than the combined totals of Klay Thompson (24) and Green (22).

The Clippers (16-7) lost this game on merit, perhaps more than the Warriors won it. Committing nine first-quarter turnovers, which the Warriors turned into 8 points, LA looked like a team that was not prepared to play an NBA game, certainly not under the microscope of national TV.

The game was advertised never materialized, partly because the Clippers were so bad and partly because the Warriors were appropriately ruthless in taking it.

“It happens,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers said. “You go into a game that you really want to do well, things don’t go well for you, and you lose it sometimes.”

Largely thanks to Clippers turnovers, the Warriors smoked LA in paint points, 58-38, as well as fast-break points, 27-11. The Warriors had 12 steals, including a career-high-tying seven by Stephen Curry.

“When we get a steal, especially live-ball turnovers, it’s three-on-one and you’ve got to pick your poison,” Durant said. “We were getting layups, we were getting wide-open 3s – although we missed a lot. But for the most part, when we get out and run that kind of ignites us, no matter if we miss or make the shot.”

So it didn’t matter than Curry failed to make a 3-pointers for only the second time this season, or that Durant endured his worst shooting night as a Warrior, going 5-of-17 from the field.

With Curry, Durant and Thompson all shooting under 50 percent, it was left to Green to operate the efficiency department. He mastered it, going 8-of-10 from the field, including 3-of-5 beyond the arc.

“It was great to get some shots to fall,” Green said. “(My shot has) been feeling good the last couple days, so I said if I got a shot that I would come in aggressive. But still focus in on the defensive end. That’s always my No. 1 focus, especially against a team like this.”

To locate the genesis of the Warriors recent domination of the Clippers, look no further than Green. He suffocates Griffin, who tends to come apart. The Warriors have faced the Clippers nine times since Green was installed as the starting power forward. They’ve won eight of them.

“If you want to take a positive away from this experience, it’s that this isn’t the playoffs,” Griffin said. “So we have some work to do, obviously. It’s a good lesson for us and I think we’ll be better off because of it. We have to allow ourselves to learn from it.”

It’s a theme very similar to that which was expressed the last time the Clippers lost to the Warriors, as well as the time before that, and so on and so on and so on, going back to the days when this was a real rivalry.

The Warriors simply take the W and keep quiet. No gloating. Maybe that will come in the playoffs.

Rewind: Sharks show no rust from layoff, fall to Sens anyway

Rewind: Sharks show no rust from layoff, fall to Sens anyway

SAN JOSE – Against Ottawa on Wednesday night, the Sharks showed no ill effects from their recent respite. They controlled play in the offensive end for long stretches, earned six power plays, and outshot and out-chanced the Senators for the majority of the three periods. 

There was no rust to speak of despite no games since Friday and no practices or meetings on Saturday or Sunday. From the opening puck drop, the Sharks were the better team.

It didn’t earn them a win, though, or even a single point in the standings. Justin Braun couldn’t prevent a bouncing puck from getting past him with about one minute left in regulation of a tie game, and Chris Kelly squeezed a shot through Martin Jones while holding off Marc-Edouard Vlasic. The Sens added an empty netter, beating San Jose for the fifth straight time, 4-2.

Braun offered his perspective of the game-winner.

"It was just bouncing in the neutral zone,” he said. “I feel [Kelly] coming on me, and I'm trying to whack it over to [Joe Thornton and] miss. Miss with my feet. … You want to have that one back. Other than that, I think the boys played pretty well."

While Braun could have played that one differently, the Sharks probably deserved better than to be tied at 2-2 at that stage. They outshot Ottawa, 37-17, and out-attempted the Senators a whopping 78-36.

Despite a strong first period, they fell behind 2-0.

On an early power play, Mark Stone was the beneficiary of a deflected puck in front of the net, when Mike Hoffman’s shot hit both Paul Martin and Brent Burns before squirting to Stone. Erik Karlsson increased the lead to 2-0 with a wrist shot through a screen a few minutes later.

“Take a penalty, they get a lucky bounce, they score a goal, [then] they go up two on a shot through traffic,” Logan Couture said. “I thought we had most of the chances in that first.”

No one had better chances throughout the night than Joe Pavelski, who was the best player on the ice. The Sharks captain was robbed in front of the net twice late in the first period, rang a shot off the crossbar in the second on a breakaway, and in the third his desperation attempt on a loose puck just outside of the blue paint was snared by Ottawa goalie Mike Condon.

Pavelski finished with a game-high seven shots, and 10 shot attempts altogether.

“That’s the way it goes,” he said. “We’ve won games 2-1, 3-2. Tonight we didn’t find that extra one, and some of the chances we had, we have to get it.”

The power play got one in the second period, courtesy of Couture, but could have had more on its six opportunities. That 1-for-6 stood out on the scoresheet to coach Pete DeBoer.

“I thought the power play maybe could have won us the game,” he said.

Even with wins in six of their last seven entering Wednesday night, though, the Sharks are still struggling to score. They have two or fewer scores in eight of their last 11 games, although they’ve managed to go a respectable 6-4-1 over that span.

They continue to get goals from the usual suspects like Couture (seven goals in 10 games) and Brent Burns, who had the game-tying goal in the third period (his fifth in eight games), but the depth scoring just hasn’t shown up nearly one-third into the season. It’s clearly becoming an issue as evidenced by DeBoer’s constantly shuffling his lines, which he did again late Wednesday.

The coach downplayed a suggestion that the depth scorers aren’t holding their water, though.

“We've been managing to find ways to win games and get enough goals to win,” DeBoer said. “Just didn't happen tonight, even though the shots and most of the play was in our favor. We just didn't win."

While the shot and scoring chance discrepancy was encouraging, the last minute loss meant it was all for naught.

“You’re never happy when you lose, especially [when] you give up a late goal, you want to at least get a point out of that game,” Couture said. “I thought we were the better team, start to finish. It’s unfortunate we couldn’t find a way to get the third one.”