Not to steal a rare moment in the sun from fourth-line winger Mike Brown, but the real first star of the Sharks’ stunning 7-2 win over the Kings wasn’t wearing teal.
Brown may have scored the first of San Jose’s seven unanswered goals and led the assault with eight official hits, but the actual catalyst behind this jaw-dropping win was Sharks coach Todd McLellan, who made two decisions early in the second period that turned a 2-0 deficit into a franchise-record-tying rout.
Sensing that his combinations needed some adjusting after a frustrating first period, he pulled Joe Pavelski off of Joe Thornton’s wing and slotted him on the third line between Tommy Wingels and James Sheppard. McLellan also recognized that his fourth line was firing on all cylinders and deserved a regular shift.
Both calls paid quick dividends. Brown and Raffi Torres drew the Sharks even by the midway point of the period, setting the stage for Pavelski to help blow the game wide open with a goal and two assists in a four-goal third.
No one should be surprised that San Jose now holds a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series. After all, the home side has taken 18 of the last 19 meetings between these two teams. But the margins of the Sharks’ victories — they won 6-3 in Game 1 — might be more surprising than the Red Wedding. What was expected to be a tight defensive series has been turned upside down. San Jose has scored 13 goals in two games after scoring all of 10 against Los Angeles in a seven-game second-round loss last spring, and now stands poised to put the Kings on the ropes when the series resumes on Tuesday night in L.A.
Whatever the line for that one is, take the over.
Here are some quick observations on tonight’s game, as well as a couple of thoughts on what sets up to be a very important Game 3.