The San Jose Sharks gave the LA Kings a bit of their own medicine on Saturday night as Logan Couture potted the game winning goal at 1:29 into overtime during a power play opportunity to bring the Sharks back into the series and send Jonathan Quick chasing after the officials.
The Sharks started the first period as if a fire had been lit in the locker room, a desperate team down 2-0 in the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. Ironically, it would be a Delay of Game penalty called on Muzzin 1:30 into the first that would put the Sharks on the power play and up a goal. Off the faceoff, Pavelski would feed to Marleau, who sent it to the point where Boyle fired in past Quick’s stick side putting the Sharks up 1-0 early on. The Kings would soon find the equalizer as Brad Stuart misread the play and placed the puck on the stick of LA’s Tyler Toffoli, who wasted no time in putting it past Niemi to give him his first NHL playoff goal.
With Raffi Torres out on suspension, the Sharks brought back the injury plagued Martin Havlat to the line-up. He did not continue play into the second however, his lower body injury sustained in the first playoff round still causing him grief. Early in the second period, as Couture chased a puck to the boards, he impacted at an awkward angle, his left skate making contact sideways. He would skate off on his own power but went straight to the dressing room, favoring the leg. The Sharks were without their best all around player for most of the second period. LA would try to take advantage, driving the net, however both Vlasic and Braun applied the pressure, shutting down the Kings’ Brown, Kopitar, and Penner and keeping the tally 1-1. The Sharks 2nd line of Brent Burns, Joe Thornton, and TJ Galiardi created havoc in the Kings’ offensive zone, generating the most scoring chances for the Sharks. Couture would return late in the 2nd, drawing a roar from already frenzied crowd.
The intensity level stepped up in the 3rd as both teams vied for the go-ahead goal. Tight checking and north-south play dominated the period, indicating this game would need overtime to resolve. The end of the period would play out in eerie similarity to game 2 when LA went on the power play to eventually win the game. This time the call was on LA, as Tommy Wingels would draw the penalty and put the King’s Regehr in the box for Hooking at 19:18 of the 3rd. Not 30 seconds later on a shorthanded attempt by the Kings, Trevor Lewis came to the net with speed, failing to stop before taking the Sharks netminder with him, drawing an interference call and creating a 5-3 power play for the Sharks just at the end of regulation.
The game would go to overtime with the King’s successfully killing the 5-3, leaving just Lewis in the box. Still on the power play, at 1:29 into OT, the face of the team, Logan Couture, would get his first game winning overtime playoff goal of his career as he took a feed from Marleau and Thornton and roofed it past Quick, putting the Sharks back in the series. As the Sharks celebrated, Quick was visibly upset, slamming his stick against the goalpost and then pursuing the linesman where he exchanged words, those words earning him a game misconduct and potential supplemental discipline. The Sharks continue their homestand for Game 4 with the LA Kings on Tuesday night, looking to tie up the series at 2.