Sharks, Kings head to L.A. for Game 3 showdown


Sharks, Kings head to L.A. for Game 3 showdown

April 18, 2011
Coverage starts at 7 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet California

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- With leading scorer Anze Kopitar sidelined for the playoffs and Jarret Stoll suspended one game, the Los Angeles Kings found some much-needed offense among their defensemen.

Drew Doughty notched four points in the Kings' 4-0 victory over the San Jose Sharks that tied their first-round playoff series at a game apiece. Besides scoring twice, Doughty assisted on a power-play goal by fellow defenseman Jack Johnson and a rebound goal by forward Kyle Clifford.
RATTO: Sharks get started at re-establishing control

Stoll will be back for Game 3 on Tuesday night at Staples Center. He missed Saturday's win after being suspended for a hit from behind on Sharks defenseman Ian White, who plans to return, too.

RELATED: White wants to suit up for Game 3

White left the series opener, which the Sharks won in overtime, after absorbing Stoll's hit and didn't play in Game 2 because of a concussion, but he practiced on Monday.

Stoll said Monday that he texted White to "let him know that I didn't mean to hurt him in any way. He appreciated the text and reaching out to him. Sorry it happened, sorry I missed a game and happy our team came out and got the win."

"Having Stoli back is a huge part for us," Doughty said after practice. "Our fans are going to be great, really loud and we're going to be really pumped and excited for it."

The Kings will wear their black jerseys at home, where their average attendance of 18,083 was the highest in club history, and they're encouraging their fans to dress all in black while waving black rally towels.

"With two California teams especially, it's going to get revved up, and that's great for the game," Kings coach Terry Murray said.

Sitting out Game 2 gave Stoll a coach's perspective on how the Kings played.

"There wasn't any stretches where we had lapses or inconsistency with our play," he said. "We stuck with it and kept going. Everybody was just rolling over the boards and having fun with it. When you do that, you're usually going to come out on top."

Doughty's four points tied a Kings playoff record for a defenseman, and Johnson added an assist. When the duo wasn't scoring, they were shutting down San Jose's attack.

"He definitely made his plays when he was there and scored a few goals but they came off our breakdowns," Sharks center Joe Pavelski said about Doughty. "We need all five guys playing defensively as well as on the offense. We can handle him when we do that and put pucks in better spots."

Doughty keyed a power play that improved to 3-for-6 in the series after struggling in the regular season. The same thing happened a year ago against Vancouver in the first round, when the Kings were 10-for-26 with a man advantage before eventually losing in six games.

"Last year we really stepped up on the power play as well. I don't know why we can't do it during the regular season," Doughty said. "It's a key part to our offense. With Kopi being out, our offense is going to struggle a little bit more so our power play has got to come up huge like it did last game. We got to capitalize every chance we get."

Doughty is doing just that after a lackluster training camp and suffering a concussion in October that sidelined him for six games. The effects lingered long after, when he wasn't the same aggressive player that helped Canada win Olympic gold last year.

"He wasn't quite moving. He wasn't skating with the authority, with the puck in particular and then the concussion happens, so there's a big step back after recovering from that," Murray said.

"Players sometimes, not just Drew, are going to say, 'Gee, I thought I was playing pretty good,' especially when you're a young guy. The last half of the year he's been playing the kind of game that we want."

The Sharks will need at least one win in the next two games to regain home ice advantage and avoid facing elimination when the series returns to the Bay Area.

"They outcompeted us in every aspect of the game," Sharks defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic said. "That's usually what it is. The team's that down comes out hard. The team that's up has to try to match their intensity and we didn't do that. In Game 3 we'll have to play the way they did (Saturday)."
REWIND: Sharks flat in 4-0 loss to Kings

49ers snap count: Reid no longer starter; rookies see more time on offense


49ers snap count: Reid no longer starter; rookies see more time on offense

Veteran safety Eric Reid returned from a knee injury that kept him out three games to discover he lost his starting job.

Strong safety Jaquiski Tartt has continued to serve as an every-down player for the 49ers’ defense. On Sunday, Reid played 48 snaps (64 percent) as the 49ers employed six defensive backs against the Dallas Cowboys three-receiver sets.

The 49ers had to adjust their sub package after nickel back K’Waun Williams sustained a hip injury. Rookie Adrian Colbert entered the game at safety with Jimmie Ward taking over Williams’ role. Colbert played 29 snaps.

Newly signed defensive linemen Leger Douzable and Tony McDaniel saw a lot of action in their 49ers debuts. Douzable played the third-most of any defensive lineman (behind Solomon Thomas and DeForest Buckner), seeing action on 47 of the team’s 75 snaps. McDaniel played 25 snaps.

On offense, the 49ers appear to be making a point to go with younger players. Rookie Cole Hikutini played 21 snaps, taking over as the No. 2 tight end over Garrett Celek and Logan Paulsen.

Wide receiver Kendrick Bourne, another undrafted rookie, played a season-high 23 snaps. On fourth-and-4 from the Dallas 28 early in the third quarter, coach Kyle Shanahan decided to go for it instead of kicking a 46-yard field goal. Bourne was the intended target. But he stumbled after a spin move from the slot, and C.J. Beathard’s pass was incomplete.

“As I was throwing the ball he tripped,” Beathard said. “If he hadn’t tripped on a DB’s feet or whatever happened there, it would’ve been a big play.”

Here is a look at the 49ers’ playing time on offense, defense and special teams:

(66 plays)
Quarterback – C.J. Beathard 66
Running back – Carlos Hyde 51, Matt Breida 15
Wide receiver – Pierre Garçon 46, Trent Taylor 46, Marquise Goodwin 39, Aldrick Robinson 30, Kendrick Bourne 23
Tight end – George Kittle 31, Cole Hikutini 21, Garrett Celek 18, Logan Paulsen 11
Offensive line – Joe Staley 66, Daniel Kilgore 66, Laken Tomlinson 66, Brandon Fusco 52, Trent Brown 45, Garry Gilliam 20, Zane Beadles 14

(75 plays)
Defensive line – Solomon Thomas 61, DeForest Buckner 50, Leger Douzable 47, Earl Mitchell 38, Xavier Cooper 26, D.J. Jones 25, Tony McDaniel 25, Elvis Dumervil 15
Linebacker – Reuben Foster 53, Eli Harold 31, Ray-Ray Armstrong 27, Brock Coyle 22, Dekoda Watson 9
Cornerback – Dontae Johnson 63, Rashard Robinson 51, Ahkello Witherspoon 35, K’Waun Williams 20
Safety – Jaquiski Tartt 75, Jimmie Ward 75, Eric Reid 48, Adrian Colbert 29

(24 plays)
Elijah Lee 21, Coyle 21, Raheem Mostert 16, Celek 15, Colbert 16, Witherspoon 15, Breida 14, Harold 12, Hikutini 12, Armstrong 10, Tartt 10, Bradley Pinion 9, Jones 8, R.Robinson 8, Ward 8, Johnson 7, Kyle Nelson 6, Buckner 6, Thomas 6, Paulsen 6, Reid 5, Mitchell 5, Douzable 4, A.Robinson 3, Taylor 3, Robbie Gould 2, Foster 2, Staley 2, Kilgore 2, Gilliam 2, Beadles 2, Tomlinson 1, Fusco 1, Brown 1, Dumervil 1, Watson 1, Williams 1

QB Brian Hoyer

WR Victor Bolden
DB Dexter McCoil
FB Kyle Juszczyk (back)
LB Mark Nzeocha
LB Pita Taumoepenu
DL Aaron Lynch (calf)
OL Erik Magnuson

Cowboys expose 49ers' biggest weakness in bashing: Talent


Cowboys expose 49ers' biggest weakness in bashing: Talent

If there is such a thing as being “due” in sports (and there actually isn’t, so you can probably stop reading now), the San Francisco 49ers had Sunday coming to them.
After all, the anomaly of being the “best winless team in football” based on margin of defeat lasts only so long until the “winless” part trumps the “best” part, because even the Los Angeles Chargers – the previous “best bad team in football” – aren’t the Chargers all the time.
So it was that the Dallas Cowboys exposed every weakness the 49ers have with the simplest thing there is.
The Cowboys did everything they wanted, but only whenever they wanted it, in a 40-10 dope-slapping that could actually have been worse than it was. The 49er offense was properly stymied (again), gaining only 290 yards (4.5 yards per play) and the defense was thoroughly Elliotted (as in Ezekiel-ed, who averaged 8.1 yards in his 27 touches). San Francisco’s warts were rubbed until they glowed, and if not for the fact that head coach Kyle Shanahan already knew where they were, he’d have been shocked to see how visible they were.
And therein lies the takeaway from another day at Not-So-Great-America. It turns out that the 49ers weren’t very good at much of anything before Sunday except just how far away they are from what Shanahan and general manager John Lynch believe is their destiny. C.J.  Beathard remained the rookie quarterback he is, and Carlos Hyde's hard-won 68 rushing yards led to no scores. Indeed, San Francisco's only touchdown came on a four-yard improv sprint from Beathard, who is by no means a running quarterback except in abject flight.

Next week in Philadelphia figures to be no less grisly, if you’re waiting for that magic moment when “0” becomes “1.” That is, of course, unless Washington exposes the Eagles as less than what they seem, which is very often the case in the new parity-gripped NFL.

But there are subsequent get-well games at home against Arizona and then at New York against the Giants the week after, so whatever dreams you might have about them running the table backwards and getting the first overall pick in the draft are still light years from realization.
This is, however, another healthy reminder that the job to be done is at least two more years in the undoing before the doing can actually begin. Not that the players or coaches needed another lesson, mind you – they know.
But maybe you needed it, just to keep your delusions in check. Maybe the people who were “due” were all of you.
But that’s unfair, too. You didn’t undo this franchise. All you did was believe, and there’s nothing wrong with that – as long you know there will be more days like this before your team starts handing out the 40-10’s.
In the meantime, there is beer.