The L.A. Kings came out like a team fighting for their playoff life. The San Jose Sharks didn’t seem to match that urgency. And now this best-of-seven Western Conference first-round series grows even more interesting.
The Kings, who previously trailed 3-0 in the series, once again managed to avoid elimination with a 3-0 victory over the host Sharks on Saturday. San Jose still leads the series, although their advantage has slimmed to just 3-2 when it looked earlier on in the week like the Sharks might be easily on their way to the second round.
For the second consecutive game, Antti Niemi was pulled from the Sharks net. He allowed three goals on 19 shots faced.
Jeff Carter’s goal 22 seconds into the second period ended Niemi’s night. Carter has at least a single point in each of the five games in this series, and points in his last nine playoff games dating back to last year.
Meanwhile, at the other end, Jonathan Quick, who was lit up earlier in this series, recorded his first shutout of these playoffs.
He was remarkable when called upon, including a highlight save off Andrew Desjardins in the first period. His teammates responded, with Anze Kopitar scoring his first of the series.