Take a deep breath, hockey fans.
The first installment in the highly-anticipated series between the L.A. Kings and San Jose Sharks was a back-and-forth, hard-hitting and overall thrilling opener between two California rivals that have endured the emotional and physical tolls of facing each other in the playoffs before.
Joe Pavelski scored the winner, and his second of the game, just 17 seconds into the third period. The Sharks earned a 4-3 victory to take Game 1. The Kings pushed for the equalizer with a frantic offensive push in the final minute, but couldn’t get their shot attempts on target.
Quick stopped 19 of 23 shots, and had help from Drew Doughty in the second period, as the Kings’ defenseman went old school by stacking his pads to rob Patrick Marleau of what looked to be a sure goal.
There were four lead changes in this game. In the second period, when the Sharks took their first lead on a goal from Brent Burns, the Kings responded 40 seconds later to tie the game. Later in the period, when the Kings took their second lead, the Sharks responded with another equalizer 30 seconds later.
Kings’ defenseman Alec Martinez missed the entire third period. If he is out with an injury, then it would put even more pressure on the Kings’ blue line, Doughty in particular.
Doughty ended the night with 29:19 of ice time. That included 11:02 of ice time, all at even strength, in the third period.
“He didn’t play in the third period,” Sutter said when responding to a question about Martinez’s absence. “He didn’t play most of the second period, either.” There were no other updates after the game.