Sharks (just barely) beat L.A. to take 3-1 series lead

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Fans at SAP Center got their wish: The San Jose Sharks beat the L.A. Kings on Wednesday. Just barely.

The Sharks, who scored all three of their goals on the power play, held on for a 3-2 victory, and now lead the series 3-1.

Once again against the Sharks, the Kings are on the brink of elimination. They were in the same position two years ago, albeit they had to dig out of a deeper 3-0 hole.

According to LA Kings Insider, coach Darryl Sutter was asked post-game if the Kings can draw on the experience of being down 3-0 in the series to San Jose two years ago and coming back to win.

Sutter was blunt: “No. We’re not down three to nothing, and it’s a different team.”

There were plenty of anxious moments in the third period because apparently that’s what the script calls for between these two teams. The Sharks, on an early third-period goal from Patrick Marleau, grabbed a 3-0 lead. With 18:20 remaining in the third period. And that’s when this game took a most interesting turn.

That’s when the Kings started their comeback attempt. First, it was Trevor Lewis getting L.A. on the board 2:49 into the period. The Sharks used a coach’s challenge on the basis of possible goalie interference. After a review, the call on the ice stood. Good goal, 3-1 Sharks.

Less than four minutes later, Luke Schenn scored on a point shot to cut the San Jose lead to just one goal and with plenty of time remaining.

Nervous times in San Jose, as the chants of ‘Beat LA! Beat LA!’ continued.

The Kings pressed and pressed for the tying goal. Sharks goalie Martin Jones appeared to get away with a trip at the side of the net on Dustin Brown late in the period.

Despite giving up 26 shot attempts in the final 20 minutes, as per hockeystats.ca, the Sharks didn’t break, holding on for the win.

“Our penalty kill wasn’t near good enough tonight, and special teams were obviously the huge difference,” said Schenn. “They got three power play goals, and we obviously didn’t get any. Special teams needs to improve, for sure, if we’re going to climb back into it.”

This series shifts back to L.A. The Sharks have three chances to move on.