NHL: Kings Avoid Elimination With Game 4 Victory
The Los Angeles Kings did not want to leave the 2014 NHL Playoffs without a win and they grabbed their first win of the series on Thursday night by defeating the San Jose Sharks 6-3, trimming their deficit to a 3-1 series lead for the Sharks.
Justin Williams and Marian Gaborik each scored a pair of goals in the Kings unusual offensive explosion. Tyler Toffoli and Dustin Brown also added goals in the Kings winning effort as the series will now shift back to San Jose.
The Kings readjusted their lines for Game Four, moving Gaborik and Brown to the first line alongside Anze Kopitar. Brown scored the first goal of the game just 4:08 into the first period before James Shepard tied the game up with less than eight seconds remaining in the first period. It was Shepard’s first career playoff goal in his 21st playoff game.
The Kings would bounce back in the second period, in which may be their best period of the series, when they put three shots behind Antti Niemi. Williams scored to regain the lead for the Kings at 2-1 before Long Beach native Matt Nieto tied it up again four minutes later. Williams scored again and Toffoli tallied the third goal of the period for Los Angeles in a span of three minutes to take the lead for good.
Gaborik put the Kings up 5-2 just 34 seconds into the third period, forcing Niemi out of the game as the Sharks replaced him with Alex Stalock. Stalock saved each shot the Kings had against him and his efforts may have rewarded him the Game Five start.
Joe Pavelski scored a power play goal with eight minutes left in regulation, but Jonathan Quick denied the Sharks of cutting the lead any more. Quick made 36 saves in the contest, which he hopes will turn things around after a disastrous first three games. Brown scored an empty net goal to seal the deal for the Kings and capture their first win of the series.
Game Five will be played on Saturday night in San Jose, Calif. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. PT.