Instant Replay: Fiery Sharks storm past Kings in Game 1

Instant Replay: Fiery Sharks storm past Kings in Game 1
April 17, 2014, 9:45 pm

Tomas Hertl (left) and Marc-Edouard Vlasic celebrate after Vlasic put the Sharks up 5-0 in the second period on Thursday. (AP)

BOX SCORE

SAN JOSE – The power went out at SAP Center just before warmups on Thursday night. The Los Angeles Kings probably wished it never came back on.

The Sharks dominated their rivals to the south for two periods before holding on in the third in Game 1 of a first round playoff series, skating to a 6-3 victory. Tomas Hertl, Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Brent Burns each had one goal and one assist, and six different San Jose players found the back of the net.

San Jose tallied five unanswered goals in taking a commanding lead into the second intermission, before the Kings finally showed some life in the third, scoring three times. It was not enough, though, and the Sharks will try to take a two-games-to-none lead at home on Sunday.

Joe Thornton opened the scoring just over three minutes into the first. A driving Burns held off Robyn Regehr and one-handed a pass to the slot found Joe Pavelski. Pavelski’s attempt was tipped inside the post as goalie Jonathan Quick was looking the other direction.

A pair of goals in the final minute of the first period extended that lead to 3-0. James Sheppard flubbed a one-timer from Tommy Wingels, but the puck trickled to Hertl, who flipped in his first goal since Dec. 12 at 19:08. Then, the Kings turned the puck over in the neutral zone, leading to a rush the other way. A give-and-go between Patrick Marleau and Matt Nieto resulted in a Marleau marker with just 3.2 seconds left before the intermission.

The Sharks seemed to put the game away with two more scores in the second period, making it a 5-0 advantage, both of which involved Vlasic.

The defenseman rang a shot off the goal post that ended up on Raffi Torres’ stick, and the forward, who missed the final 17 games of the regular season, rifled in a shot from the high slot at 12:57.

Vlasic got his goal at 16:29 on the power play, finding Quick’s five-hole moments after partner Jason Demers snuffed out a potential Mike Richards breakaway.

The Kings woke up in the third period and made things interesting. Jake Muzzin put Los Angeles on the board at 2:01, and Slava Voynov outmaneuvered Sheppard before whizzing a wrister past Niemi at 6:55.

Los Angeles came to within two goals at 13:59, when a shot by Jeff Carter deflected in off of Tervor Lewis’ skate. That was as close as the Kings would get, though, despite pulling backup Martin Jones with two and a half minutes to go in regulation. Burns hammered in an empty net goal with 54.7 seconds to go from inside his own blue line.

The game took a nasty turn early, courtesy of the Sharks’ fourth line. Mike Brown drove the net with Voynov defending him less than five minutes into the opening frame, and the pair collided violently with Quick. The ensuing scrum involving all 10 skaters along with Quick resulted in eight minutes of penalties, including a goalie interference minor on Brown.

Special teams
The Sharks were 1-for-3 on the power play while Los Angeles was 0-for-3.

In goal
Niemi made 31 saves, improving to 33-23 in his playoff career.

Only publicly named the starter on Thursday morning, Niemi made several quality saves. In the second period he got his right pad on a Tyler Toffoli attempt when it was still just a 3-0 game, and late in the game smothered an Anze Kopitar shot from the circle with 7:15 to go and the Sharks ahead 5-2.

Quick allowed five goals on 28 shots, taking the loss. Jones, who came on in relief of Quick after the second period, had to make just four saves.

Lineup
Marty Havlat was the Sharks’ healthy scratch, as the Sharks opted for the gritty Brown over Havlat on the fourth line. Matt Irwin, Tyler Kennedy, Bracken Kearns and Matt Tennyson were also out.

Up next
The Sharks host Game 2 on Sunday at 7:00 p.m. before the series shifts to Staples Center for games three and four on April 22 and 24.