SAN JOSE -– The Sharks struck for three power play goals and withstood a late push from Los Angeles in downing the Kings, 3-2, in Game 4 of their first round playoff series on Wednesday night at SAP Center.
San Jose leads the best-of-seven series, three games to one, and can wrap it up in Game 5 on Friday night in Los Angeles.
Brent Burns, Joe Pavelski and Patrick Marleau all tallied on the man advantage to stake San Jose a 3-0 lead early in the third period.
The first two came in the second period.
Jeff Carter’s roughing minor 30 seconds into the middle frame, when he took an extra jab to the head of Marc-Edouard Vlasic in scrum, was the first penalty of the night. Joel Ward managed to freeze Jonathan Quick for a split second before sliding a pass through the seam to Burns, who beat the Kings goalie inside the near post at 2:09.
The Sharks were forced to kill off of a pair of minors to Matt Nieto and Ward shortly after the goal, and went back to work on the power play when Tomas Hertl drew a trip on Rob Scuderi.
This time it was Pavelski converting, getting free between Carter and Drew Doughty in front of the net and slamming home a Joe Thornton pass from behind the net at 9:21. It was his fourth of the series.
Another bad penalty by the Kings, this one on Luke Schenn for roughing Thornton, gave the Sharks another advantage with 2:30 left in the second. Despite plenty of zone time again, the score remained 2-0 at the break.
The Sharks got their third power play goal of the night at 1:40 of the third, though. Just six seconds after Jamie McBain whacked Joonas Donskoi with a high stick, Marleau flicked in a loose puck with a backhand. The play began with a Logan Couture shot that was blocked by Jake Muzzin, but Marleau was able to settle it down with his skate before potting his first of the series.
Los Angeles kept pushing, though, and got back to within 3-2 on a pair of goals from a pair of unlikely sources.
Fourth liner Trevor Lewis put the Kings on the board, when Schenn’s point shot nicked Lewis’ skate and got past Martin Jones. Lewis came into contact with Jones, but the goal was allowed to stand after a coach’s challenge at 2:49 due to Burns forcing Lewis into the San Jose goalie.
Schenn scored the second himself at 6:44, when his shot deflected off of Roman Polak. About a minute earlier, Quick got just enough of a Couture wrist shot from the circle on a two-on-one.
The Sharks and Jones kept the Kings from getting the equalizer, though, despite Kings outshooting San Jose 12-5 in the third period. Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Couture made key blocks as time wound down.
The pace was frantic in a scoreless first period, and the Sharks had the better of the scoring chances. Thornton’s look at an open net was blocked by Doughty midway through, and less than a minute later Jonathan shifted to his right to deny Marleau on a two-on-one rush after a pass from Nieto with 8:55 to go.
The Sharks improved to 17-15 all-time in Game 4’s. When winning three of the first four games of a playoff series they are 9-1 all-time, with the lone defeat coming to Los Angeles in 2014 when they dropped four straight.
After taking an unsightly 0-for-5 in Game 3, the Sharks finished 3-for-4 on the power play. They are 5-for-18 for the series.
Los Angeles was 0-for-2, and is 3-for-13 through four games.
Jones stopped all 16 Kings shots he saw through two periods, and finished with 26 saves. He’s now won three of his first four career postseason starts.
Quick allowed three goals on 29 shots and fell to 46-34 in his playoff career.
Quick and Jones have played every minute of the series so far for their respective teams.
Neither team made any lineup changes for Game 4. Kings defenseman Alec Martinez (undisclosed) missed his third straight game.
The Sharks have won all four games they’ve played at Staples Center, including two in the regular season. They have a 12-16 record all-time in Game 5’s, including a 3-11 mark on the road.