Sharks looking to eliminate Kings in Game 5

Sharks looking to eliminate Kings in Game 5

April 22, 2011

SHARKS vs. LOS ANGELES
San Jose leads series 3-1

Coverage begins at 6:30 P.M. on Comcast SportsNet California

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) From an epic comeback to a pair of six-goal outbursts to the two big road wins that gave the San Jose Sharks control of their first-round series, it was all in all a pretty successful trip to Los Angeles.

The task for the Sharks now is closing out the Kings at home in Game 5 on Saturday night and avoiding another trip to Southern California.

"When you have the opportunity to win that fourth game you have to take advantage of it," defenseman Dan Boyle said. "We're at home, we don't want to have to get back on a plane and go back there and fight for another 60-plus minutes. You want to take care of business when you can, get the extra rest. When you can put a team away, put them away."

RATTO: Sharks poised to finish what they started

Most of the Sharks took the day off Friday to get some rest a day after taking a 3-1 series lead with a 6-3 victory at Staples Center. It marked the second straight six-goal game on the road against a team known for its tight defense and moved the Sharks to the brink of the second round.

San Jose had scored that many goals in a playoff game just five times in 142 postseason contests before doing it twice in a row. Despite the outburst, Kings coach Terry Murray is sticking with goaltender Jonathan Quick for Game 5.

"They have three lines that are as good as any three lines in the NHL," Murray said. "If we're going to have success against them, and whenever we do have success against them, we're playing a solid game, everyone is on the same page doing the right things with the puck and we have good defensive posture."

The contributions have come up and down the roster as 12 players have recorded points in each of the past two games. The top line delivered the game-winning goal in overtime on Tuesday when Patrick Marleau set up Devin Setoguchi to cap just the fourth comeback ever from a four-goal deficit in a playoff game. The line also got the key goal early in the third period Thursday from Joe Thornton that made it 4-2.

Ryane Clowe has back-to-back two-goal games from the second line, where Logan Couture also scored a key goal to fuel the comeback in Game 3. Joe Pavelski got the tying goal in Game 3 and joined linemate Torrey Mitchell with a goal in the third period Thursday.

REWIND: Sharks sweep Kings in L.A.
The defense has even chipped in with one goal and 11 assists the past two games, making the Sharks a very difficult team to match up with defensively.

"We've got three pretty sick scoring lines," forward Scott Nichol said. "We've got a threat when those guys get out there. It's hard to check. If you have a checking line, who do you check? You've got to leave one of those three lines exposed. And that's what you want in the playoffs. You don't want just one line going or one player. We've got a whole unit together, pulling the same way."

Nichol, the fourth line center, is one of the few players who didn't record a point the past two games but found his own way to make a mark. He enticed Kings star defenseman Drew Doughty into a matching roughing penalty in the second period Thursday that led to a pair of four-on-four goals that opened the scoring.

Nichol also drew a double minor on a high stick by Matt Greene that led to a third goal, leading Murray to call him the reason the Sharks won the game.

"He's definitely not fun to play against but he's certainly fun to play for and with and watch," Boyle said. "The guy just never quits. He's the energizer bunny out there. He was obviously a big part of the win yesterday. I don't believe he was on the score sheet, but he was a big reason why we won and he's just one of those guys you love to have on your team."

The Kings will try to regain the form that led them to a 4-0 win in San Jose in Game 2 and the 4-0 lead the following game, eliminating the giveaways and other mistakes that have helped fuel the Sharks' offense.

Despite being outscored 12-4 since taking that big lead, the Kings still have their confidence.

"We saw the things we can do to them, we have moments of domination," Doughty said. "We just need to clean up our D zone. If we clean that up, really focus hard on that, and just keep getting the goals we're getting, we should be fine."

While the Kings are trying to keep their confidence up, the message from the Sharks coaching staff was to avoid getting complacent. Coach Todd McLellan said his team struggles when the players start feeling comfortable and stop doing some of the little things such as blocking shots, managing shift length and getting the puck in deep that have made them successful.

"If we let up or take our foot off the gas pedal for any little bit it's going to cost us," McLellan said. "I'd like to think we're growing up as a team and are able to put some of those lapses behind us. Tomorrow will be a reflection on whether we've learned a lesson or whether we'll be taught a lesson."

Instant Replay: Warriors become first to clinch playoff berth with win vs Nets

Instant Replay: Warriors become first to clinch playoff berth with win vs Nets

BOX SCORE

OAKLAND -- What was never in much doubt with the Warriors became official Saturday night at Oracle Arena. They will be in the playoffs.

Closing out a brief two-game homestand with a 112-95 win over Brooklyn, the Warriors clinched their fifth consecutive trip to the postseason while sending the Nets to their 16th consecutive loss.

With Kevin Durant missing his first game of the season, Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson carried most of the scoring load. Curry put in a game-high 27 points, while Thompson finished with 24.

Rookie forward Pat McCaw, starting in place of Durant, finished with nine points, four rebounds and two blocks. He was plus-20 for the game.

In a game between two uptempo teams, the Warriors (49-9) outscored the Nets 30-16 on fast-break points while also making 11 of their 29 3-pointers.

Rondae Hollis-Jefferson scored 16 points to lead the Nets, who fell to 9-49.

STANDOUT PERFORMER

While Thompson and Curry handled most of the scoring, Zaza Pachulia submitted a strong all-around game on offense while making life difficult on Brook Lopez.

Pachulia’s line: Eight points (3-of-5 from the field, 2-of-3 from the line), nine rebounds, three assists and one block. He played 20 minutes and finished plus-29.

Furthmore, with Pachulia as the primary defender on Lopez, the Brooklyn big man didn’t score until midway through the third quarter and totaled only nine points.

TURNING POINT

After falling behind 46-45 on a Joe Harris 3-pointer with 4:02 left in the first half, the Warriors went on a 19-5 run that extended into the second half, taking 64-51 lead with 11:24 left in the third quarter.

The Warriors led by as much as 19 in the third quarter, and Brooklyn got no closer than eight (99-91, 5:10 remaining) in the fourth.

INJURY UPDATE

Warriors: F Kevin Durant (L hand contusion) was listed as out. C Damian Jones is on assignment with Santa Cruz of the NBA Development League.

Nets: F Quincy Acy (L ankle sprain) and G/F Caris LeVert (illness) were listed as out.

WHAT’S NEXT

The Warriors return to action Monday in Philadelphia, where they will face the 76ers at Wells Fargo Center. Tipoff is scheduled for 4:05 p.m. Pacific.

Instant Replay: Sharks blow past Canucks in first game back from break

Instant Replay: Sharks blow past Canucks in first game back from break

BOX SCORE

VANCOUVER – Playing for the first time since their bye week, the Sharks scored two goals in each of the final two periods to down the Canucks at Rogers Arena on Saturday, 4-1.

San Jose improved to 11-2-5 in its last 18 games, and increased its lead in the Pacific Division to five points over Anaheim and Edmonton.

After a lackluster first period without much action, the Sharks opened the scoring in the second.

Joel Ward took advantage of some confusion at the Vancouver bench, plowing ahead untouched for a breakaway. His attempt squirted just wide, but Chris Tierney pushed the loose puck to the front of the net where Tomas Hertl pounded it home at 3:31.

Vancouver tied it later. Brent Burns’ defensive zone turnover resulted in Daniel Sedin buzzing in a wrist shot short side on Martin Jones at 12:02.

The Canucks had a chance to take the lead on the power play later, after Micheal Haley jumped Joseph Labate for hammering Melker Karlsson along the wall. Bo Horvat was staring at an empty net, but fired the puck high with four minutes to go in the middle frame.

That allowed the Sharks to reclaim the lead on Patrick Marleau’s 22nd goal. The forward was set up beautifully by David Schlemko, who passed the puck through the seam, confusing Ryan Miller and allowing Marleau to tuck it in at 19:04.

Jones, who was outstanding for the duration of the game, made a key stop on Alex Edler’s wrist shot from the top of the circle with 20 seconds to go, keeping it a 2-1 San Jose advantage after two.

Mikkel Boedker added to the Sharks’ lead at 11:31, whooshing a wrist shot past Miller on two-on-one with Logan Couture. The goal, Boedker’s first in 20 games, was unassisted after defenseman Ben Hutton gave the puck away to the San Jose winger.

Couture capped the scoring with a power play goal, picking the top corner from the faceoff dot at 14:20.

Karlsson returned to start the third period. Early in the third, Labate answered the bell and fought Brenden Dillon, with Dillon seemingly landing more punches.

Vancouver was without five players due to a mumps outbreak in their dressing room, while defenseman Luca Sbisa did not finish the game due to the stomach flu.

The Sharks won their 10th straight game in Vancouver, including both this season, increasing what was already the longest winning streak ever by a Canucks home opponent. The road team has won 15 in a row, extending an NHL record.

Special teams

The Sharks capitalized on their only advantage of the evening, scoring just their second power play goal in the last five games (2-for-13).

Vancouver finished 0-for-2 on the power play, with both of its advantages in the second period. The Sharks are 10-for-10 on the PK over the last six games.

In goal

Jones, a North Vancouver native, improved to 4-0 in his career at Rogers Arena with 35 saves. He’s 29-15-6 on the season, starting 51 of the Sharks’ 61 games.

Miller fell to 16-18-3 on the season, allowing four goals on 26 shots. He’s 10-6-0 in his long career against San Jose.

Lineup

The Sharks were carrying just 12 healthy forwards, as Joonas Donskoi did not make the trip after coming down with the flu. Donskoi, who has been out since Jan. 24 after suffering an upper body injury, is close to a return.

Barclay Goodrow played in his second game of the season, skating on the fourth line.

Vancouver defenseman Evan McEnany was making his NHL debut, while Labate was playing in just his fourth career game.

Up next

The Sharks return home to host the Maple Leafs on Tuesday, and see the Canucks again on Thursday at SAP Center.

Saturday’s game in Vancouver kicked off a stretch of 22 games over 43 days before the playoffs.