Categories: NHL

Sharks nip Kings in Game 1

LOS ANGELES — Joe Pavelski broke a tie with his second goal early in the third period, and the San Jose Sharks opened their playoff return with a 4-3 victory over the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday night.

Brent Burns and Tomas Hertl scored for the Sharks in their first postseason game since losing four straight to the Kings in 2014, completing a seven-game flop in the first round. Los Angeles rode the momentum to its second Stanley Cup title, but both California rivals missed the playoffs last year.

San Jose’s Martin Jones made 19 saves against his former Los Angeles teammates in his first career playoff start.

Trevor Lewis scored a short-handed goal and Jonathan Quick stopped 19 shots for the Kings.

Game 2 is Saturday night at Staples Center.

Jake Muzzin and Jeff Carter also scored, but Los Angeles struggled to keep up for long stretches of the two-time champs’ return to the postseason.

The fourth playoff meeting in six seasons between these familiar foes got off to a thrilling start, with both teams trading huge hits and erasing early deficits within seconds of falling behind.

San Jose dominated long stretches of play, but Los Angeles kept it close with two goals banked in off the Sharks’ defense.

San Jose got another monster offensive game from Pavelski, their captain and a 38-goal scorer. He put the Sharks ahead 17 seconds into the third period, circling the net with the puck and holding off Anze Kopitar before firing home a wraparound goal.

Burns had a goal and an assist, and Joel Ward contributed two assists as the Sharks carried the play for most of the game.

The Kings led the Pacific Division for most of the second half of the season, and they led Winnipeg 3-0 late in the second period of their season finale before blowing the game and the division banner. Los Angeles’ defensive struggles continued in the postseason, giving up six goals in a 66-minute span dating to the regular season.

But the Staples Center fans hadn’t cleared all of the confetti from Kobe Bryant’s 60-point career finale out of their seats before Muzzin put the Kings ahead, adroitly banking in a puck off Hertl’s skate. Pavelski evened it with a one-timer on a power play moments later, getting his 27th playoff goal.

Burns put the Sharks ahead early in the second with a long wrist shot, but Carter tied it 40 seconds later with a power-play goal that banked in off Paul Martin.

Lewis put the Kings back ahead late in the second with a long rush and an exceptional toe-drag for a short-handed goal, but Hertl tied it off a scrum 30 seconds later.

Associated Press
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