Programming note: Coverage of Game 2 between the Sharks and Kings begins Sunday at 6:30 p.m. on CSN California with Sharks Pregame Live
SAN JOSE – Naturally, the Los Angeles Kings that spoke to the media after Thursday’s Game 1 all pointed to the start of the game as their downfall in a 6-3 loss.
San Jose used goals from Joe Thornton early, and Tomas Hertl and Patrick Marleau in the final minute of the opening frame to take a 3-0 lead that proved to be insurmountable for the Kings, who allowed the fewest goals in the NHL during the regular season.
"I think we weren't ready to start. ... Sloppy play,” said captain Dustin Brown, who had eight hits, but no shots on goal. “Turnovers. Bad changes. Odd-man rushes. We probably gave up more odd-man rushes in the first period than we have in the past. I don't know. When you give a team like that opportunities on the odd-man they're going to make you pay, and that's what they did.”
Willie Mitchell said: "Not a start we wanted. No doubt about that. We know this club plays well in this building and in order to have success against them early on you got to do the right things with the puck and we didn't do that and paid the price dearly for it."
Marian Gaborik indicated the Kings tried to open things up in the second period, but only dug a deeper hole, as the Sharks struck for two more goals from Raffi Torres and Marc-Edouard Vlasic.
“When it was 3-0 we just tried to make something happen, but we didn't play our game,” Gaborik said.
"We knew they were going to come out hard. We were talking about we have to be ready. We just didn't translate it to the ice."
Jonathan Quick was victimized by the Kings’ poor play in front of him, but still didn’t look like the elite goalie that has been a thorn in the Sharks’ side in recent years. He was pulled after two periods, allowing five goals on 28 shots.
Head coach Darryl Sutter had this exchange with a media member following the game:
Q: Overall, it was a good game for Jonathan…
Sutter: "What'd you say?"
Q: It was a good game for him, but unfortunately the odd-man rushes…
Sutter: "You're the one who said it, not me."
Q: How do you think he played?
"I think I could have made the decision (to pull him) earlier."
If the Kings can take any positives out of the game, it was that they had a dominant third period, outshooting the Sharks 16-5 and scoring three times to pull to within 5-3, and make the home team and its sellout crowd a bit nervous with six minutes to go in regulation.
“Every period counts in a series. Chipping away,” Brown said. “It's something we can build on but it's not something that's encouraging. It's more about getting off to a good start."