AP/ Marcio Jose Sanchez

AP/ Marcio Jose Sanchez

The rivalry is as intense as any Original Six matchup. The tension between the San Jose Sharks and the Los Angeles Kings goes beyond the ice and into the stands as Northern Californians have a particular dislike of anything to do with So-Cal, be it Baseball or Hockey. BEAT LA  became a thunderous wave as the last minute of play came to the close of Game Four and the Sharks took another bite out of the Kings, tying up the series 2-2 in the Western Conference Semi-final round. The Sharks dominated the first 40 minutes of play, keeping LA frustrated, penalty-prone and on their heels. The Sharks swam freely in the Kings zone. LA turned up the heat in the third but it wasn’t enough to pull out a win. San Jose showed dominance with all four lines, but it was the top two lines of Pavelski-Couture-Marleau and Burns-Thornton-Galiardi that produced.

The Sharks turned up the heat early on in the first period with a blast from Brent Burns off a feed from the Captain, Joe Thornton, from behind Quick’s net only six minutes into the game. Jumbo Joe seemed to have found his wheels as he spent most of the game flying around the ice with Burns and Galiardi, continuing the intense play that this second line has shown in this series, challenging LA at every opportunity. The Sharks kept up the pressure with Pavelski, Marleau, and Couture continuing to apply pressure deep in the Kings’ zone. LA began to get frustrated with their inability to control the puck and get far off their blue line, leading to two power play opportunities in a row for the Sharks. LA’s  Colin Fraser got called for hooking against Patrick Marleau and then just seconds after he stepped out of the box Drew Doughty was called for slashing on the Sharks Marc-Eduard Vlasic. During the power play, the Sharks kept LA guessing and a drive from Wingels in the final seconds rung off the post, barely missing the back of the net. The Sharks didn’t allow the Kings a single shot during the last 10 minutes of the first frame and outshot them 15-3.

San Jose continued to shutdown LA’s offense during the second period but the Kings stepped up the defensive pressure with heavy hitting directed at both Couture and Galiardi. Colin Fraser returned to the box and put the Sharks on the power play, but this time Team Teal capitalized on the man advantage. Boyle fired one in from the point off a feed from Joe Pavelski and Couture got the tip-in to put the Sharks up 2-0. This  would  eventually be the game winner and makes his third during the playoffs, tying him with LA’s Slava Voynov. The continued harassment by the Kings on Galiardi led to a Kings power play with the chirping Gally going off for an interference call at 8:33 of the second. LA never got a chance to set up shop in the Sharks zone as the penalty killers cleared at every chance.

The momentum shifted in the third as Los Angeles tried to salvage the game. San Jose spent most of the period trying to extract the Kings from their end. Brent Burns delivered some heavy hits and eventually was hauled off for boarding Anze Kopitar almost midway through the period. The call would cost the Sharks as the Kings power play unit hemmed San Jose in and Mike Richards snuck one past Niemi. Although the Kings poured on the pressure and evened up the shot clock at 23, it wouldn’t be enough  to get any more past the Sharks netminder, sending the series back to LA tied at two games a piece.

A West Coast girl, born and raised in the Bay Area in the most non-traditional Hockey Market you could imagine for a long time... When the Sharks came to town it changed the Bay Area hockey landscape forever. Her first love will always be the Red Wings but she has embraced the Sharks since their debut in 1991. She has a passion for minor league grind-it-out-in the-corners hockey. Her heart broke when the ECHL Bulls folded , but luckily the Stockton Thunder are still close enough for her to get her gritty-hockey fix. Besides watching hockey, she is an American Tribal Style belly-dancer and trolls the blue-line, playing defence in a local rec hockey league... A somehow strange but balanced juxtaposition.

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