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Kings 3, Sharks 0

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LOS ANGELES -- Anze Kopitar finally showed up for the Los Angeles Kings in the Western Conference semifinals.

His timing could not have been better.

Frustrated, stymied and curtailed by the stingy San Jose Sharks over the first four games of the series, Kopitar awoke late in the second period simply by being in the right place at the right time.

The result was a crucial goal past Sharks goalie Antti Niemi that set the Kings on their way to a 3-0 victory Thursday in Game 5 at Staples Center.

The Kings took a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven series, and they have a chance to close out the Sharks on Sunday in San Jose.

If not, Game 7 on Tuesday would be in Los Angeles, where the Kings have won 13 straight.

Either way, the Kings can take comfort in having Kopitar back in the fold, and in the scoring column.

Shut out over the first four games against San Jose and with just one goal over the Kings' first 10 postseason games, Kopitar broke through at the 18:08 mark of the second period, positioning himself to the right of Niemi, finding a loose puck at his feet and punching it in to give the Kings a 1-0 lead.

"The legs are a little bit lighter," Kopitar said of getting his first goal of the series.

The noticeably inspired Kings pulled the momentum of Kopitar's goal into the third period, striking quickly against Niemi when Slava Voynov fired a wrist shot past him 53 seconds into the period to put the Kings up 2-0.

With Kings goalie Jonathan Quick back on top of his game, that turned out to be an insurmountable lead for the Sharks to overcome.

In recording his second shutout of the series, Quick turned away all 24 shots he faced.

Meanwhile, the Kings killed off three power plays, and have now killed 16 of 17 power plays at home during the playoffs.

"We needed it, and we came out big," Kopitar said.

Jeff Carter added an empty-net goal for the Kings with 32 seconds remaining.

Niemi made 26 saves.

NOTES: Sharks defensemen Marc Edouard-Vlasic and Justin Braun have been defending Kopitar's line and done the same job they did against Vancouver Canucks forwards Daniel and Henrik Sedin in the first round, holding them to one assist each. "They picked up where they left off in their assignment against the Canucks," Sharks coach Todd McLellan said. "They feel very comfortable playing with each other and they complement each other well. They're both very good skaters with tremendous stamina, so when they get caught out there long, they're able to maintain their composure and get the job done."
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