Vlasic: 'We should have won that game'
LOS ANGELES – The Sharks had two players register multiple-point games against the Kings in Game 2, and both were a bit of a surprise.
Brad Stuart, who didn’t have a goal all season, tied the game in the second period when his shot from the point beat Jonathan Quick, who didn’t seem to see the puck through heavy traffic on its way in.
“I was just shooting the puck. Save it for the playoffs,” Stuart said. “We’ve just got to keep doing the same things. If he doesn’t see it, it’s tough to save it. That’s what we have to keep doing.”
Stuart assisted on Marc-Edouard Vlasic’s go-ahead goal in the third, when his slap shot went wide but bounced off of the back boards in front of the net, where Vlasic slid it home.
The 33-year-old defenseman, who had six assists in 48 regular season games, was trying to get the shot off as quickly as possible before the Kings’ Jordan Nolan got in front to block it.
“You’ve just got to get it through to the bottom some how, and we get that lucky bounce off the back,” Stuart said. “Those are the types of goals we have to score now.”
Scott Gomez registered two assists, just his second multiple-point game the season. Gomez had a goal and an assist on March 9 against St. Louis.
The center was promoted to center the team’s third line after Raffi Torres’ suspension forced the Sharks to shuffle their forwards. Gomez was a +2 in 16 minutes of ice time.
Todd McLellan praised Gomez’s game, and went a bit further.
“Gomer has been a very good player for us in a number of different ways. I don’t want to say it’s surprising, but he’s almost like a third or a fourth coach. He’s trying to do things the right way. He’s trying to get guys to keep their shifts short, that we have a high guy, that we don’t turn pucks over. I didn’t know we were getting that in Scott Gomez, but we’re getting it, and he’s been a big influence that way.”
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Vlasic, who scored his first goal in 74 career postseason games, was involved in a play in the second period that forced him to leave the ice until the start of the third period. At 15:25, he played a loose puck in the defensive zone corner and was hit from behind hard into the glass by the Kings’ Jeff Carter.
He didn’t have much to say about the hit after the game.
“I’m alright. Came back in the third and played well,” Vlasic said. “I’m good.”
Carter was given a charging minor on the play, but the Sharks’ power play went 0-for-4.
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Stuart gave his perspective of the tripping penalty he took on Tyler Toffoli at 17:19 of the third period, leading to the Kings’ tying and winning goals.
[RELATED: Penalty or not, Sharks in huge hole]
“I was just trying to make a dive at the puck, and didn’t get the puck and took him down,” he said. “It’s probably a penalty. It was just kind of a desperation attempt to swat the puck, and I guess I was too far away from it.”
No player on the Sharks roster sees more time shorthanded than Stuart, who was a key component to the club’s marked improvement in that department this season. San Jose allowed three power play goals in six chances to the Kings in Game 2, though, and the Los Angeles power play looked threatening all night.
“They had some good zone time on us. I thought we kept them to the outside pretty good, but they did have some chances,” Stuart said. “They’re a good team and they’re going to get their chances. When the game is on the line we’ve got to come through, and we didn’t, and that’s obviously the difference.”
Stuart was on the ice for Trevor Lewis’ game-winning goal.
“One of those pass off the pads situations you always talk about, and they had a guy free going to the net,” he said.
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By the time Game 2 ended, it seemed like it had been days since the news of Torres’ suspension for the remainder of the Kings’ series broke.
McLellan was asked about the decision after the game.
“It really doesn’t matter what Todd McLellan thinks, or what anybody else thinks now. It’s been dealt with. We have Game 3 now that we’re going to move ahead and prepare for without Raffi.
[RELATED: Sharks' Torres suspended for Kings series]
“But, Raffi has our full support as a player that’s worked hard to play his game. Do I think that was anywhere near any of the other hits [punishable] he’s had in his career? Absolutely not.”
Joe Thornton didn’t say much about it after the game.
“We can’t change it,” said the captain.
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McLellan decided not to address his team immediately following the heartbreaking loss.
“They don’t need to hear me, they’re tired of hearing me,” he said in his postgame presser.
What will the message be on Friday?
“We’ll talk about the good things we did. We’ll talk about some of the adjustments we made and how it helped us. We’ll talk things we need to clean up a little bit.
“The most important thing is they’ll know that we believe in them. It was a hell of an effort tonight from our group.”