NHL

Kings aim to even series in Game 2 against Sharks

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The Sports Network
4/20/2014 10:54:55 AM
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The Los Angeles Kings hope to get off to a better start in Game 2 at San Jose, as they try to even up the Western Conference quarterfinals in Sunday's road clash against the Sharks.

San Jose claimed Game 1 on home ice by a 6-3 score, but that was after carrying a 5-0 advantage into the third period. Los Angeles will try to build off its strong finish in Game 1, as it attempts to avoid falling into an 0-2 hole before the series shifts to Southern California for Games 3 and 4.

Already holding a 1-0 lead after Joe Thornton scored just over three minutes into the game, Tomas Hertl and Patrick Marleau tallied 48 seconds apart late in San Jose's three-goal first period. Raffi Torres, playing in his first game since March 8, added a goal in the second period and Marc-Edouard Vlasic made it 5-0 later in the middle stanza.

After the Kings made their push in the third, Brent Burns sealed the win for San Jose with an empty-net goal in the final minute of regulation.

Burns, Hertl and Vlasic each finished with a goal and assist, while James Sheppard picked up a pair of helpers. Hertl, who had 15 goals and 10 assists in 37 games during his rookie campaign this year, became the first player in Sharks history to record multiple points in his postseason debut .

Antti Niemi recorded 31 saves for the Sharks, who were bounced from last year's playoffs by the Kings in seven games in the conference semifinals.

"Obviously we're a little disappointed in the way we responded there (in the third), but for the most part, it was a real good game on our behalf," Sharks head coach Todd McLellan said.

Jake Muzzin, Trevor Lewis and Slava Voynov supplied the goals for Los Angeles, which saw goaltender Jonathan Quick chased after giving up five goals on 28 shots. Martin Jones stopped all four shots he faced in relief for the Kings.

"It's a series and every chance you get to finish a check, rub a guy out, make it harder on them, tire them down, it pays dividends later," Kings captain Dustin Brown said of his team's play at the end of Game 1. "We needed a third period like that."

Although Quick was pulled from Game 1, the proven postseason performer will get the start in Game 2. Quick won the Conn Smythe Trophy when the Kings won the Stanley Cup in 2012 and boasts a 29-22 record and a .927 save percentage over 51 career playoff games.

In order to even the series at 1-1, Los Angeles needs to pick up a rare win at San Jose's SAP Center. Including the playoffs, the Kings have lost 11 of their last 12 games on the road against the Sharks. In last spring's playoff encounter, the home team won every game, but unlike 2013, San Jose holds home- ice advantage in this series.

The Kings will host Game 3 on Tuesday, with the fourth meeting set for Thursday at Staples Center.

Anze Kopitar (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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