Sharks edge Kings on Pavelski's O.T. winner


Sharks edge Kings on Pavelski's O.T. winner

April 14, 2011


SAN JOSE (AP) Joe Pavelski once again stepped up for the San Jose Sharks in a big moment in the postseason.Pavelski scored 14:44 into overtime for the final momentum swing in a roller-coaster type of game that saw each team dominate for long stretches before the Sharks came out on top with a 3-2 victory over the Los Angeles Kings in Game 1 of their all-California opening round playoff series Thursday night."It feels good to score," Pavelski said. "We're trying to get to four wins in this series. You have to get the first one. We're on our toes a little bit more now. And whatever jitters we had are out now."Pavelski made sure of that. He took a pass from Kyle Wellwood as the trailer on a three-on-two advantage and fired a forehand past Jonathan Quick for his third career playoff overtime goal.
RATTO: Filthy hit mars Sharks' Game 1 victory
Pavelski scored nine goals in San Jose's first eight playoff games a year ago, including a late equalizer in Game 2 of the opening round against Colorado and the overtime winner in Game 4 of that series."Pavs is a tremendous player for us," coach Todd McLellan said. "We count on him in so many situations. He's really recognized at this time of year as a guy who steps up his play and scores some huge goals."Dany Heatley and Logan Couture also scored and Ryane Clowe had three assists for the Sharks, who had lost five of their previous six series openers. Antti Niemi made 33 saves.Dustin Brown and Justin Williams scored for the Kings, who have won just one playoff series since going to the Stanley Cup final with Wayne Gretzky in 1993. Quick made 42 saves."We were one shot away," Quick said. "We had our chances. Niemi made a few big saves for them and at the end of the day they got one more than we did so we got to refocus. It's in the past at this point. We've got to learn from it."Game 2 is Saturday night in San Jose.The Sharks dominated early before the Kings took control of the game from midway through the second period to the midpoint of the third. Then each team had good chances late in regulation and in a sloppy overtime, with the two goalies doing their best to keep things tied.Niemi made a spectacular sliding pad save to rob Kyle Clifford early in the third and then got fortunate early in overtime when Brad Richardson poked a rebound just wide from the side of the net.The Kings killed off a penalty late in the third and then got a couple of big saves by Quick in overtime before Pavelski's game-winner sent the fans at the Shark Tank into delirium."We knew it would be a tough series and a low-scoring series and it could take more than 60 minutes to get it done," Sharks captain Joe Thornton said. "It went back and forth both ways, fortunately Joe scored. The momentum kept changing in overtime but we got the last shot."After being thoroughly dominated for the first 26 minutes of the game when they were outshot 18-3, the Kings turned the tables on the Sharks.It started when Niclas Wallin was called for delay of game, giving the Kings their third power-play of the game. Couture missed the net on a three-on-one chance and Williams broke back the other way on an odd-man rush for the Kings. He sent a cross-ice pass to Brown, whose one-timer tied the game at 1.Couture atoned for the goal when he beat Doughty to the outside, avoided a hip check and powered the puck through Quick's pads just a few minutes later to put the Sharks on top.But Los Angeles dominated play for the rest of the period, getting the equalizer when Murray and Boyle collided with Ryan Smyth behind the net. Williams, who missed the last nine games of the regular season with a dislocated right shoulder, came up with the loose puck and tucked it into the net before Niemi even realized where the puck was. The Kings put up 16 shots in the final 14 minutes of the second period.The crowd was in a frenzy starting in pregame warmups for the start of just the third all-California playoff series in NHL history, waving white pompoms and chanting "Beat L.A.!"Before the fans could even settle down, the Sharks jumped out to the early lead on the game's opening shift. Ian White, playing his first postseason game after 401 regular season contests, got the puck in deep and set up Clowe. Quick made a pad stop, but Heatley knocked a backhand in for the fastest postseason goal in Sharks history just 28 seconds into the game. The Sharks kept the pressure up for the rest of the period, outshooting Los Angeles 14-3.Things got heated late in the period after Jarret Stoll hit White into the boards, knocking him out of the game with an apparent head injury with 25.2 seconds left in the period on a play that will likely be reviewed by the league office."I hope he's all right," Stoll said. "You hate to see a guy get hurt in the regular season or playoffs and I definitely wasn't trying to hurt him. ... There wasn't a penalty on the call so I'm not expecting anything."After the ensuing faceoff, Sharks enforcer Ben Eager squared off in a fight with Kings bruiser Kyle Clifford.Notes: Teams from Southern California have won the two previous all-California series, with the Kings beating the Oakland Seals in 1969 and Anaheim beating San Jose in 2009. ... The Sharks wore their alternate black jerseys for the first time ever in the playoffs.

David West is coming up big for the Warriors

David West is coming up big for the Warriors

OAKLAND -- David West is as much a cleanup man as he is a basketball player.

The veteran power forward, masquerading as a center for the Warriors, cleans up behind teammates, cleans the clocks of opponents and probably cleans his plate after every meal. And he’d hit fourth in any manager’s batting order.

The Warriors during their renaissance haven’t had such a personality. They’ve been a fun bunch, enjoying life, each other and their pillaging of the NBA.

West, 36, brings a more laconic dynamic, and it’s on full display as the Warriors lean into the final weeks of this regular season. He’s a leader who is producing and, more and more, winning over a fan base that was somewhat skeptical early this season.

“David West has been playing brilliantly,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said Friday night, after West came off the bench for a highly efficient 14-minute stint in a 114-100 win over the Kings.

Showcasing sharp passing, splendid shooting, solid rim protection and his usual old-jerky toughness, West totaled 8 points, four assists, three rebounds, three blocks and one steal. The Warriors were plus-8 when he was on the floor.

Such production, it seems, is a bit of a bonus.

“He’s been very good for us as a veteran leader,” Draymond Green said. “He’s been playing well, but just his presence also has meant a lot to this team.

“D-West is just kind of a no-bull---- type of a guy. He doesn’t say much. But when he does, you know it means a lot. And everybody hears him.”

Said West: “It’s just about adjusting and learning personalities. Obviously, this group has been very successful. I just try to add my 2 cents where I feel like it fits. Try not to over-talk people. I speak to guys directly and just make sure that we’re all on the same page.”

West is in his 14th season. Drafted by the New Orleans Hornets in 2003, he also has played for the Pacers and, last season, the Spurs, before joining the Warriors in July.

The question at the time was whether he still had a lot to give. West is a two-time All-Star and one of the most widely respected players in the league. But did he still have the legs to compete at a high level?

The answer is visible, particularly over the past month, since he returned from fractured left thumb on Feb. 23. West is shooting 53.0 percent from the field, he’s rebounding consistently and he has proven to be a spectacularly good passer -- easily one of the best in the league among big men.

Earlier this week, to quell any lingering concerns about how much athleticism he still has, West rose up and dunked over a crowd of three Dallas Mavericks. It was clock-cleaning at its finest.

“I’m just getting more comfortable,” West said, referring to his game and his locker-room influence. “We’ve developed good chemistry, communicating, harping on our defense more than anything else at this moment, because we feel that’s going to give us a chance if shots aren’t falling.”

West is on a one-year deal for the veteran’s minimum, $1.55 million. He sacrificed bigger dollars for a chance at his first championship. He’s doing his part. And he neither takes nor leaves any mess.

Dempsey hat trick lifts US over Honduras in statement win


Dempsey hat trick lifts US over Honduras in statement win


SAN JOSE — Bruce Arena's return as U.S. coach reignited American confidence, and his players responded with an emphatic rebound in World Cup qualifying.

Clint Dempsey returned from an irregular heartbeat to score his second international hat trick, 18-year-old phenom Christian Pulisic had one goal and set up three others, and the U.S. routed Honduras 6-0 Friday night to get right back in contention for an eighth straight World Cup berth.

Surprise starter Sebastian Lletget got his first international goal in the fifth minute after Pulisic's shot deflected off the goalkeeper, Michael Bradley doubled the lead in the 27th and Dempsey scored off Pulisic's perfectly weighted chip in the 32nd.

Finding room to maneuver in a central midfield role, Pulisic made it 4-0 just 12 seconds into the second half with his fourth international goal, Dempsey rounded the keeper to score following a Pulisic feed in the 49th, and Dempsey got another on a 23-yard free kick in the 54th. With 55 international goals, Dempsey moved within two of Landon Donovan's American record.

In its first competitive match since Arena replaced Jurgen Klinsmann, the U.S. moved from last to fourth in the final round of the North and Central American and Caribbean region, tied at three points with Honduras but ahead on goal difference, Mexico leads with seven points, followed by Costa Rica with six and Panama with four.

The top three nations qualify for next year's tournament in Russia, and the fourth-place nation advances to a playoff. With a victory at Panama on Tuesday, the Americans could move into the top three.

The U.S. had never before won a hexagonal game by more than three goals.

And oh how the American Outlaws and others among the lively home crowd loved every second of this long-awaited showing, chanting "Michael Bradley!" and "Demp-sey! Demp-sey!" through the Bay Area rain and cool March air.

Then, it was "Bruce Arena! Bruce Arena!"

Gloom descended upon the Americans in November when they opened the hexagonal with a 2-1 home loss to Mexico and a 4-0 wipeout at Costa Rica. The defeats caused the U.S. Soccer Federation to fire Klinsmann, who had coached the Americans since 2011, and bring back Arena, who lead the team from 1998-2006.

Dempsey, 34 and hoping to reach a fourth World Cup, was sidelined from August until this month by an irregular heartbeat and likely was starting only because of injuries to Bobby Wood and Jordan Morris. Tim Howard, the Americans' 38-year-old goalkeeper, got the shutout after returning only two weeks ago from a leg injury sustained in the loss to Mexico.

Geoff Cameron, back from a knee strain that had sidelined him for fourth months, was shifted to right back from central defense because of injuries to others, and Jorge Villafana was inserted on the left.

But there were yet more injuries. Lletget hurt his left ankle on Ever Alvarado's tackle and was replaced in the 18th minute, and defender John Brooks was stretchered off the field, hand over his face, in the 69th due to dehydration.

From the opening whistle, the U.S. played more aggressively than in the latter years of Klinsmann's reign. Arena revamped the midfield, giving a prominent role to Pulisic, who last week became the youngest American to score in the Champions League. He inserted Lletget and Nagbe, who were largely overlooked by Klinsmann last year, on the flanks.

The U.S. went ahead when Jozy Altidore picked up a loose ball and on his second try poked the ball ahead to Pulisic. His left-footed shot that went off goalkeeper Donis Escobar, and Lletget tapped in the ball with his right foot from 2 yards.

Bradley, given his debut by Arena in 2006, doubled the lead when he took a pass from Alejando Bedoya, cut to his left, took four touches and cut the ball back to beat Escobar with one-hopper from about 25 yards.

Showing poise beyond his years, Pulisic created the third goal when he lofted a pass to Dempsey, who allowed the ball of bounce off his right shoulder. Dempsey held off Henry Figueroa and while falling scored with his right foot from 8 yards.