By Allan Muir
It might have been the most impressive period yet of these 2013 playoffs. Led by their captain, Joe Thornton, the San Jose Sharks pinned the Los Angeles Kings in their own zone virtually from the opening face-off, outshooting the champs 15-3 and dominating in every facet of the game. If not for the heroics of Kings’ goalie Jonathan Quick, this one might have been a rout.
But at the end of 20 minutes, the Sharks had mustered just a one-goal lead on Brent Burns’ second tally of the postseason. And that set up a white-knuckle ride for the fans at HP Pavilion who watched as a furious rally by the Kings fell just short, allowing San Jose to escape with a 2-1 win. The series is headed back to L.A. tied up at two games each.
If the storyline sounds familiar, it’s because we’ve seen this one before. For the third game in a row, the Sharks dominated the first period, swapped chances in the second, and then held on for dear life as the Kings fought back with everything they had in the third. The formula has worked twice now for the underdogs, but it’s going to take more than a 20-minute effort to eliminate the champs.
Some thoughts and observations from tonight’s contest: