Sharks 2, Kings 1

Ross McKeon, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Dominant through two periods, the San Jose Sharks held on for dear life in the third to beat the Los Angeles Kings 2-1 and even their best-of-seven playoff series at two wins apiece.
Los Angeles outshot San Jose 14-2 in the final 20 minutes but could not rally from a 2-0 deficit. Game 5 of the Western Conference semifinal is Thursday in Los Angeles.
Mike Richards jammed home a power-play goal at 9:46 on Los Angeles' 16th shot of the game to cut the margin to a goal. The Kings enjoyed a long cycle in the San Jose end and finally solved Sharks goalie Antti Niemi after Brent Burns boarded Anze Kopitar at 8:14.
The ice that was tilted in San Jose's favor for one period carried over to the second session. The Sharks scored the only goal -- on the power play -- and tightened up defensively late when the Kings finally made their first push of the game.
Los Angeles forward Colin Fraser roughed San Jose's Andrew Desjardins in the L.A. end at 3:14 and it took the hosts just 41 seconds to convert after two failed opening-period 5-on-4s.
Logan Couture scored his fifth goal of the playoff season by redirecting Dan Boyle's point drive past Kings goalie Jonathan Quick at 3:55. It appeared Boyle's blast might have hit the stick of Kings forward Anze Kopitar as well.
Los Angeles was held without a shot on two late-period power plays. However, the Sharks dodged a bullet early in the second short-handed situation when Kings defenseman Jake Muzzin lifted a puck in front over an open cage.
The visitors also had an apparent goal waived off at 6:06 when the referee lost sight of a puck that trickled through Niemi and was pushed over the line by Los Angeles forward Dustin Penner.
The Sharks scored the only goal of a first period they completely dominated.
San Jose outshot the Kings 15-3 in the period, had two power plays and scored at even strength. The Sharks won 17 of the period's 22 draws (15 of 17 at even strength) and had another 14 drives toward the Los Angeles net blocked.
Joe Thornton's line caused trouble for Kings defensemen Drew Doughty and Robyn Regehr the entire period and it was the captain's line that struck 5-on-5 when Thornton hooked up with Burns.
Richards blocked a Burns attempt off a Thornton feed, but the puck bounced back to the San Jose center, who found Burns alone to the right of Quick. Burns' one-timer beat Quick high at 6:09 on the host's fifth shot of the game.
Justin Williams put the Kings' third shot of the period on goal at 10:02, but that was it for the remaining 9:58.
San Jose put a combined four shots on goal on consecutive power plays -- Fraser for hooking Patrick Marleau at 13:19 and Doughty for slashing Marc-Edouard Vlasic at 15:26.
Tommy Wingels rang a drive off the crossbar with eight seconds left in the
second minor.
NOTES: After much conjecture what line juggling might occur in the two idle days between Games 3 and 4, it turns out the Sharks and Kings made only one change each up front. San Jose promoted James Sheppard to play alongside Scott Gomez and Tommy Wingels on a third line that lost LW Martin Havlat to a recurring injury after just one period of Game 3. Tim Kennedy slid into Sheppard's former left wing spot on the fourth line next to Andrew Desjardins and Bracken Kearns. ... The Kings inserted rugged Kyle Clifford on to a fourth line that included Brad Richardson and Colin Fraser, as Tanner Pearson took a seat in the press box. Los Angeles made a change on defense, dressing Matt Greene in place of Keaton Ellerby. ... Injured Sharks D Jason Demers (ankle) and RW Adam Burish (hand) skated with the team, and they could see action before the series ends.

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