Kings 4, Sharks 3

The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

LOS ANGELES -- When push came to shove, the Los Angeles Kings reared back and threw a haymaker.
The result was two goals in less than a minute late in the third period, the Kings racing back from a one-goal deficit to record a 4-3 win over the San Jose Sharks and take a commanding 2-0 lead in the Western Conference semifinal series.
It was wild. I was crazy. It was the NHL playoffs at its best.
And it was the Kings reaching back and delivering a devastating blow.
Trailing 3-2 with less than two minutes remaining, the Kings got a tying goal from Dustin Brown at the 18:17 mark to knot it at 3-3.
With Staples Center rocking, Trevor Lewis scored 22 seconds later to put the Kings up 4-3.
Both goals came off power plays, both coming after Marc-Edouard Vlasic put the Sharks up 3-2 at 8:56 of the third.
The Sharks erased a 2-0 deficit by scoring twice in the second period ahead of Vlasic's tiebreaking goal.
The Kings took a 2-0 lead on goals by Jeff Carter and Drew Doughty, and with goalie Jonathan Quick playing as well as he has, that seemed like an insurmountable lead.
Underneath it all, though, was the reality the Sharks were outplaying the Kings, at least in terms of offensive activity, as they peppered Quick with shots.
Quick has a breaking point, and that arrived in the form of goals by Patrick Marleau and Brad Stuart to tie the game 2-2 in the second period.
That ultimately led to the Sharks taking the lead, and for most of the third period, the likelihood the series would head to San Jose on Saturday tied at 1-1.
However, the Kings reared back and threw their biggest punch of the playoffs, and in the process took a commanding 2-0 lead in the series.
Quick finished with 28 saves. Sharks goalie Antti Niemi stopped 27 shots.
NOTES: In a move that surprised virtually no one, Sharks LW Raffi Torres was suspended Thursday for the remainder of the series for the vicious hit he delivered to Kings C Jarret Stoll in Game 1. The hit knocked Stoll out of the game -- and perhaps for an extended period -- and considering the nature of the injury and Torres' checkered past with questionable hits, the league doled out a harsh penalty. Brendan Shanahan, the NHL's director of player safety, announced the decision and cited Torres' apparent head-hunting on the play as a reason for the stiff punishment. ... Torres has a long history with the league, serving three suspensions for illegal hits, including a 21-game suspension last year when he took out Chicago RW Marian Hossa with a hit to the head that resulted in Hossa suffering a concussion. ... Stoll's spot at center on the third line went to Brad Richardson, who's been the victim of the Kings' deep depth at center. Richardson played in just 16 games while scoring six points during regular season. Before Thursday, he'd played in one game in the playoffs, against St. Louis in the first round. Now he might play a prominent role against a deep Sharks team that can roll out Logan Couture, Joe Thornton, Scott Gomez and Joe Pavelski at center. "Hey, you want him to take advantage of (the opportunity)" Kings coach Darryl Sutter said. "He has to play well for us. It's not easy, quite honest, when you look at San Jose's four centermen."

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