A weird goal started it, and a weird goal ended it as well.
The San Jose Sharks stunned the Kings 4-3 in OT on Tuesday night, winning on the strength of a deflected Patrick Marleau backhander. With the victory, San Jose took a commanding 3-0 series lead over L.A.
Getting there wasn’t easy, however.
The Sharks were out-shot 5-1 in the extra frame and barely looked to be holding on before Marleau flipped the puck towards L.A.’s goal; Kings defenseman Slava Voynov proceeded to tip it past a stunned Jonathan Quick, who made a series of huge saves in the third period to get the game to OT and finished with 36 saves on 40 shots.
Voynov was distraught in the locker room. Wouldn’t / couldn’t even talk.
— The Mayor John Hoven (@mayorNHL) April 23, 2014
The finish was a gut-punch for the Kings, who rebounded from two sub-par efforts in San Jose to play their best game of the series at Staples. That’s not to say San Jose was dominated, however — Game 3 was by far the most competitive game of the series and easily the most exciting. Two two teams traded scoring chances, put 71 total shots on goal and continued to pound away at each other, combining for a staggering 98 hits.
As mentioned, the game was bookended by a pair of odd goals. Brent Burns opened the scoring on a weird one, lobbing home a fluttering puck past Quick to give San Jose a 1-0 lead, one the Sharks would hold until 4:48 into the second when Jarret Stoll scored his first of the series on the power play.
Three minutes after Stoll’s tally, Marian Gaborik scored a highlight-reel marker to give the Kings a 2-1 advantage, but the Sharks quickly fought back and tied it up less than three minutes later when rookie Matt Nieto scored his first-ever playoff goal.
The teams then exchanged goals again in the third — Jeff Carter’s opening-minute tally was erased by Tomas Hertl’s goal at the midway point — which sent the game into OT.
With the win, San Jose is now one step closer to exacting a measure of revenge on the Kings, who ousted the Sharks in seven games in last year’s playoffs. It also marked the first time the Sharks won at Staples in over two years.