At home, Sharks pummel Kings in opener
AP Sports Writer
SAN JOSE, Calif. — Tomas Hertl and Raffi Torres both scored in their first game together as teammates and the San Jose Sharks jumped on top of Jonathan Quick and the rival Los Angeles Kings with a 6-3 victory in their playoff opener Thursday night.
Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau and Marc-Edouard Vlasic also scored for the Sharks, who managed just 10 goals against Quick in losing a seven-game series to Los Angeles in the second round last year. Antti Niemi made 31 saves.
Quick allowed three goals in the first period for the first time in his playoff career, including two in the final minute as the Kings were completely outclassed.
Game 2 is Sunday in San Jose.
Quick was replaced by Martin Jones after allowing five goals on 28 shots in two periods and only watched as the Kings showed life in the third period with goals from Jake Muzzin, Slava Voynov and Trevor Lewis.
But Brent Burns sealed it with an empty-net goal as the home team won for the 17th time in the past 18 meetings between these teams.
The Sharks were the healthiest they have been all season with Torres back after missing all but five games in the regular season and Hertl playing for just the third time since Los Angeles captain Dustin Brown injured him with an illegal knee-on-knee hit on Dec. 19 in a play that still riles the Sharks.
They got payback in the best way possible with a dominating victory that showed off their much-improved depth when they are healthy. They got goals from all four lines and their defense to beat the Kings by more than one in their most lopsided win over the Kings since Nov. 7, 2011.
The game had even added meaning for Hertl and Torres. Hertl talked before the series of his dislike for the Kings and said this series would be personal because of the injury.
Torres was suspended for the final six games of last year’s series for a hit to the head of Jarret Stoll in a punishment the Sharks and Torres felt was unjust.
The Sharks had nothing to complain about after this game as they jumped out to a 5-0 lead and held on for the victory.
The third playoff series in four years between these heated California rivals got off to an odd start as there was a power outage at SAP Center just minutes before the start of pregame warmups. The lights came back on about five minutes later and the players warmed up without the usual blaring music.
But by the time the puck dropped, the towel-waving crowd was at its usual fever pitch chanting “Beat L.A.! Beat L.A.!” right from the start.
The cheers only got louder during a dominant first period that featured a combined 55 hits from the two teams, three goals from the Sharks and a scrum after Mike Brown pushed Voynov into Quick after the whistle.
Thornton’s deflection of Joe Pavelski’s shot from the slot on a chance created by Burns’ hustle to negate an icing gave San Jose the early lead.
San Jose broke things open with two goals in the final minute off broken plays. James Sheppard miss-hit a one-timer that slid right to Hertl, who tapped it in to make it 2-0 with 51.7 seconds to play.
Marleau then made it 3-0 with 3.2 seconds to play to cap a 2-on-1 with Matt Nieto, who failed to get off a one-timer but instead slid the puck back to Marleau for his 58th career playoff goal.
NOTES: Brown played a night after his wife, Kati, gave birth to their second son, Zane Michael. … Jones made four saves in his first career playoff game.