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2011 NHL Playoffs: San Jose Sharks Rout Kings To Take 3-1 Series Lead

Sean GalushaCorrespondent IIApril 23, 2011

LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 21:  The San Jose Sharks celebrate a goal by Joe Thornton #19 of the San Jose Sharks against the Los Angeles Kings in the third period of game four of the Western Conference Quarterfinals during the 2011 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Staples Center on April 21, 2011 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

Last night I mentioned that pain, worry, and indigestion were all part of the Sharks hockey experienceor something to that effect. Three hours later, the Sharks eviscerated the Kings by scoring six goals for the second night in a row.

Well actually, five goals. Alex Martinez forgot which side of the ice he was on and somehow mistook Jonathan Quick’s black and purple mask with a knight on it for a blue mask with a lot of underwater algae and a Sharks logo in front. He banked one into the open net and things went downhill in a hurry.

The gift goal seemed to have a sobering effect on the Kings, who had played an even first period with the Sharks in a scoreless tie.  A minute later, Logan Couture fed a perfect pass to Jason Demers who slipped it under a flop by Quick to make the score 2-0.

Another assist by Couture, this time to Ryan Clowe, gave San Jose a 3-0 lead and the Kings suddenly found themselves in the middle of the same busy highway the Sharks were walking on, on Tuesday. At first they appeared to snap out of it, clawing back into the game with two scores, but big Joe Thorton stopped the nonsense with his first goal of the postseason.

The other Joe realized it had been more than 24 hours since he last scored and promptly scalded one into the net 54 seconds later to give the Sharks another three-goal lead. Then somebody named Torrey nailed the coffin shut on the Kings with an insurance goal late in the third period.

Honestly, it’s hard to hold these Kings to the same level of contempt as teams like the Dodgers or the Lakers. But it was hard not to smile at how things were going for them for three and a half hours. The Cleveland Cavaliers could have beaten the Kings last night. They were asleep defensively, got out-skated by the refs, and couldn't score on a 5-3 advantage during the last four minutes of the game.

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Jonathan Quick looked like a contortionist in front of the net, which was understandable given that his field of vision was often blocked by three or four guys in white shirts. Still, several of the goals he allowed were preventable, and 12 goals in two games is simply inexcusable in any situation.

Antti was back on his game last night, stopping 35 of 38 shots and going a perfect four for four on the power play. Granted he was given plenty of support, but he never let the Kings get into a rhythm. More importantly, he stymied them long enough for the Sharks to draw first blood.

The Sharks might already be thinking about the Red Wings, which isn't too premature given the quick efficiency in which they dispatched Iyla Brysgawliov (hell I'm not even going to try spelling it anymore) and the Coyotes in four games.

But they can’t (and they won’t) lose focus on the task at hand. Teams are the most dangerous when they have their back to the wall. They lie in the fetal position, then kick you squarely in the cojones the second you stop taking them seriously. If these really are the Antti-Sharks then they need to close out their opponents when the opportunity first presents itself.

There are still 13 more games to win until they can hoist up the game’s biggest reward. Let’s hope they knock it down to twelve on Saturday. I have a hunch that they will.

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