In the Crease: Sharks get another chance to end Kings' season

YSTL: Sharks not panicking after Game 4 loss

In the Crease: Sharks get another chance to end Kings' season
April 26, 2014, 9:45 am
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The Sharks lead the Kings in their first-to-four series three games to one. (USATSI)

INSIDE THE MATCHUP

-The Kings and Sharks have combined to score at least seven goals in each game this series, and exactly nine goals in three of the four games.    

-The Kings have come back to win just one of 12 playoff series when trailing 3-1 (1989 vs. Oilers). The Sharks, meanwhile, are a perfect 9-0 in series (despite going just 5-4 in Game 5's) when leading 3-1.    

-Going back to the regular season, the Sharks have scored at least five goals in three consecutive home games for the first time since a similar three-game streak March 19-31, 2011.    

-The Sharks are the only team in the NHL this postseason that has scored a power-play goal in every game.    

-Patrick Marleau has become the first Sharks skater to record multiple points in three consecutive playoff games since Joe Pavelski achieved the feat in the 2010 playoffs.    

-Marian Gaborik has scored three goals over his last two games, after scoring a total of just four goals over his previous 21 playoff games.

Programming note: Coverage of Game 5 between the Sharks and Kings begins Saturday at 7 p.m. on CSN California (Channel locations)

Series schedule

The Sharks lead the best-of-seven series, three games to one.

Game 1 – April 17, Sharks 6, Kings 3
Game 2 – April 20, Sharks 7, Kings 2
Game 3 – April 22, Sharks 4, Kings 3 (OT)
Game 4 – April 24, Kings 6, Sharks 3

Game 5 – April 26, Kings @ Sharks, 7:00 p.m.
Game 6* – April 28, Sharks @ Kings, TBD
Game 7* – April 30, Kings @ Sharks, TBD

* - if necessary

The latest

The Kings kept their season alive by beating the Sharks on Thursday at Staples Center, 6-3.  Justin Williams and Marian Gaborik led the way offensively for Los Angeles with two goals each, while Antti Niemi was pulled from the Sharks’ net early in the third after allowing five goals on 28 shots. James Sheppard was among the goal-scorers for the Sharks, netting his first career playoff goal.

Home teams are 23-2-1 in the last 26 meetings between the Sharks and Kings, including playoffs. San Jose has won seven straight home playoff games, including the last five against the Kings, dating back to last season.

Sharks’ playoff series record when…

The Sharks are 9-0 when leading a series three-games-to-one. They are 7-2 when leading three-games-to-two.

Keep an eye on…

Sharks: James Sheppard. The forward spent the majority of Game 4 on the Sharks’ third line, and his goal after a dominant shift with Tomas Hertl tied the game at 1-1 late in the first period. Sheppard has four points in four games (1g, 3a), but has still struggled mightily in the faceoff circle, where he is just 5-for-24 in the series.

Kings: Justin Williams. The veteran winger, who scored twice in last year’s Game 7 of the second round helping the Kings advance, secured his first goals of the series on Thursday. Williams seemed to get a boost from playing on a third line with Jarret Stoll and Dwight King, after Dustin Brown replaced him on Anze Kopitar’s line.

Vitals

Sharks
Goals per game: 5.00 (1st)
Goals-against per game: 3.50 (T -12th)
Power play: 23.5 percent (6th)
Penalty kill: 76.9 percent (10th)

Kings
Goals per game: 3.50 (T – 3rd)
Goals-against per game: 5.00 (16th)
Power play: 23.1 percent (7th)
Penalty kill: 76.5 percent (11th)

Probable lines

Sharks
Joe Pavelski – Joe Thornton – Brent Burns
Patrick Marleau – Logan Couture – Matt Nieto
Tomas Hertl – James Sheppard – Tommy Wingels
Raffi Torres – Andrew Desjardins – Mike Brown

Marc-Edouard Vlasic – Jason Demers
Brad Stuart – Justin Braun
Scott Hannan – Dan Boyle

Antti Niemi (confirmed starter)
Alex Stalock

Kings
Marian Gaborik – Anze Kopitar – Dustin Brown
Tanner Pearson – Jeff Carter – Tyler Toffoli
Dwight King – Jarret Stoll – Justin Williams
Kyle Clifford – Mike Richards – Trevor Lewis

Jake Muzzin – Drew Doughty
Robyn Regehr – Slava Voynov
Willie Mitchell – Alec Martinez

Jonathan Quick (confirmed starter)
Martin Jones

Injuries/Scratches

Sharks: Adam Burish (fractured left hand) is out.

Kings: None.

Quoteable

“We try to play the game. When a situation like that arises, I thought we did a good job of having each other’s backs. That’s all you can do. It’s what happens between the whistles that we’re focused on, not what happens after.” – Brad Stuart, on the end of Game 4

Burning question

What do the Sharks need to do better in Game 5 than they did in Game 4? Leave your answer in the comments section below.