Kings head to Shark Tank down 2-0 in series

Listen to this article

The San Jose Sharks won two close games at Staples Center last week. It’s not an enviable spot for the Kings to be in, down in the series 2-0 and playing game 3 on the road, but they’ve been in this position before. In 2014 when Los Angeles won the Stanley Cup they lost the first three games to the Sharks before waking up and winning the last four to move on in the playoffs.

This year it’s a little different in that they started the series here in Los Angeles.

Sharks center Joe Pavelski after game 2
Sharks center Joe Pavelski after game 2

After game 2 Kings coach Darryl Sutter said, “That would be the difference in the series right now; the Pavelski line. No question.”

Indeed. Sharks center Joe Pavelski, a Plover, WI native, has scored three goals so far in this series and his line has scored five altogether. He has been on fire all season, with 38 goals and 40 assists (78 points). Plus the defense he and his team have played, keeping the Kings’ puts out of the net when it looked like Los Angeles could tie up the score. If a game goes to a three-on-three overtime there’s a very good chance the Kings would win. They have been the best at it all season.

In game 1 the Sharks came back from behind twice, one in the first period and then in the second, to win the game. It was penalties that helped defeat the Kings in game 1. They were tagged with four penalties in the first two periods and it was in that first period Pavelski scored a power play goal.

The Kings had good special teams play as well. Jeff Carter scored on a power play and Trevor Lewis had a short-handed goal. But the big reason Los Angeles is they have let opponents back in the game. After game 1 Lewis said, “After we score we need to be better and keep the momentum on our side.”

After game 1 Kings center Anze Kopitar told the media, “That’s where you gain the momentum, playing in their zone, and we didn’t do enough of that.”

Kings center Trevor Lewis
Kings center Trevor Lewis

Sharks goalie Martin Jones was once the back up and protege to Kings goalie Jonathan Quick. Now that he is facing his old team in the playoffs, the verdict is Jones can hold his own against a tough rival and playoff contender.

Not that Quick has done badly. As Sutter has often said, Quick is usually their best player every game. Both teams are very good on the road, with San Jose having an edge over Los Angeles. San Jose has a losing record at home: 18-20-3. But to win it the Kings will have to win at least one at home. The fans would like it too.

Below are the two video reports from games 1 and 2, by Claudia Gestro.

Photos by Claudia Gestro.