Game Notes: Sharks vs. Kings, Game 5

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Game Notes: Sharks vs. Kings, Game 5

April 23, 2011

Kevin Kurz
CSNBayArea.com

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Sharks lead best-of-seven series, 3-1

Projected Line-ups

LOS ANGELES

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

Jonathan Quick

Jonathan Bernier

SAN JOSE

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

Antti Niemi

Antero Niittymaki

Starting Goalies

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.

Previous Games

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.

Roster Watch

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.

Whos Hot

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.

Storylines

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.

Belt relates to Arroyo's benching in slump: 'It doesn’t need to be bad thing'

Belt relates to Arroyo's benching in slump: 'It doesn’t need to be bad thing'

SAN FRANCISCO — At this point Bruce Bochy has had plenty of experience working young infielders into his everyday lineup, so he knew exactly which move to turn to when Christian Arroyo dropped into a wicked slump.

With Arroyo hitless in his last 21 at-bats, Bochy sat him Saturday night against the Braves. His plans could always change, of course, but Bochy said he planned to sit Arroyo at least one more game. It’s a move he used most notably in 2013 to help Brandon Belt get back on track.

Belt was in a 1-for-19 rut when Bochy kept him out of the starting lineup for an entire series in Philadelphia. He had just one pinch-hit appearance, but he returned for the opener of the next series in Tampa Bay, notching three hits and a homer. Belt batted .346 the rest of the way.

Asked about that experience and Arroyo's current one, Belt at first made a different point.

“Arroyo has actually been really good for us,” he said. “That road trip we just had, we faced a lot of really good pitchers. There’s nothing for him to hang his head about.”

Belt has actually had several “clear your head” breaks over the years.

“It allows you to reset a little, and with the pressure, you can release that a little bit,” he said. “For me (in 2013) it forced me to make (mechanical) changes and when you have time off you see everything more clearly. You can make changes or go back to something that was working for you before. He shouldn’t look at this as a timeout. It doesn’t need to be a bad thing. You can make adjustments and it can be a good thing.”

Bochy originally planned to rest Arroyo on Thursday in Chicago, but Eduardo Nuñez’s hamstring needed a day. Arroyo started at second Friday against a lefty but got the full night off Saturday. With Conor Gillaspie sidelined for several more days by a tight back and Hunter Pence out the rest of the homestand, there's time for the Giants to contemplate what they want to do going forward.

“We’ll get this sorted out,” Bochy said. “We’ve (worked) him pretty hard. This is to give him a chance to catch his breath, get his mind right, and work on some things.”

A's lineup: Alonso returns, batting fifth vs Yankees

A's lineup: Alonso returns, batting fifth vs Yankees

The A's get a big back back in the lineup Sunday in New York as they look to win a series against the Yankees.

Oakland A's (22-26)

1. Mark Canha (R) CF
2. Stephen Vogt (L) DH
3. Jed Lowrie (S) 2B
4. Khris Davis (R) LF
5. Yonder Alonso (L) 1B
6. Ryon Healy (R) 3B
7. Josh Phegley (R) C
8. Matt Joyce (L) RF
9. Adam Rosales (R) SS
Andrew Triggs -- RHP

New York Yankees (28-18)

1. Brett Gardner (L) LF
2. Gary Sanchez (R) C
3. Matt Holliday (R) DH
4. Starlin Castro (R) 2B
5. Aaron Judge (R) RF
6. Didi Gregorius (L) SS
7. Aaron Hicks (S) CF
8. Chris Carter (R) 1B
9. Ronald Torreyes (R) 3B
Michael Pineda -- RHP