Instant Replay: Sharks even series with 2-1 victory
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SAN JOSE – The Sharks dominated early, and then held on after a second half charge from the Kings in a 2-1 win on Tuesday night at HP Pavilion in Game 4 of their Western Conference semifinal series.

The Sharks tied the series after losing the first two games in Los Angeles. Game 5 is set for Thursday night at Staples Center (7:30 p.m., NBCSN). San Jose is 4-8 all-time when a playoff series is knotted at two games apiece.

San Jose led 2-0 at the second intermission, but was outshot 14-2 by the Kings in the third. Los Angeles got to within a goal on Mike Richards’ power play marker, but was unable to get the equalizer.

The Sharks held a 21-9 lead in shots through two periods, and played their most complete and dominant opening period of the postseason in taking a 1-0 lead.

Joe Thornton led the effort, as his line with Brent Burns and TJ Galiardi seemed to play every shift in the Kings’ zone while matched up against the Richards line. They gave San Jose the lead when Thornton fed Burns for a shot, got the rebound, and fed Burns again on a pass through the slot at 6:09. The goal was Burns’ first of the series.

Thornton also won six of seven faceoffs in the first period, while the Sharks won 17-of-22 as a team. San Jose outshot the Kings 15-3 in the first, although it did fail to convert on two power play chances. Tommy Wingels rang one off of the cross bar with 2:42 left on their closest opportunity, shortly after Kings goalie Jonathan Quick punched Wingels in the face but did not receive a penalty.

The power play cashed in after the intermission, though, increasing the Sharks’ lead to 2-0. Logan Couture deflected Dan Boyle’s blast from the high slot in for his fifth goal of the playoffs, all on the power play at 3:55.
The Sharks did get a few notable breaks from the officials in the second in maintaining their lead. On the goal, the Kings’ Colin Fraser was off on a roughing minor after he appeared to miss on his hit of Andrew Desjardins at 3:14.

Shortly after Couture’s goal, an early whistle nullified Dustin Penner’s goal after a Tyler Toffoli shot snuck through Antti Niemi at 6:06.

San Jose’s penalty kill did the rest, including killing off a Scott Hannan interference minor at 16:58. The Kings failed to register a single shot on either of their two power plays in the period, including when Jake Muzzin missed a wide open net on a rebound attempt with 2:37 left in the frame.

The Kings managed to solve Niemi on a power play after Burns’ boarding penalty on Anze Kopitar. Joe Pavelski blocked Jeff Carter’s shot from the circle, but Carter got it back and his next attempt hit the near post. Richards was able to jam the loose puck through Niemi at 9:46 for his second of the playoffs.

League wide, the home team has won 12 of 14 second round games, including all four in this series.

Special teams
Three of the four Sharks’ goals in the last two games came on the power play. They finished 1-for-4 in Game 4. Overall, San Jose is 9-for-24 at home in the playoffs.

The Kings ended the night 1-for-3.

In goal
Niemi improved to 6-2 in the playoffs with 22 saves.

Quick took just his second regulation loss and is 6-4.

Marty Havlat’s indefinite absence meant Tim Kennedy got back in the lineup for San Jose. There were suggestions from head coach Todd McLellan that Jason Demers might dress as a seventh defenseman, but Demers remained out and has yet to play in the postseason.

A pair of Kings made their debuts in the series. Forward Kyle Clifford returned after missing the last four postseason games with an upper body injury. Defenseman Matt Greene made his playoff debut, as he had been out since April 24 and played just five regular season games. Defenseman Keaton Ellerby and rookie forward Tanner Pearson sat.

Up next
The win assured the Sharks of at least one more playoff home game, on Sunday. The time has yet to be announced. Game 7, if necessary, is on Tuesday, May 28.