Western Conference quarterfinals
Game 3 (Series tied, 1-1)
After the 1st period:
Kings 3, San Jose Sharks 0
The good: The Kings are making San Jose look like the Charlestown Chiefs before the Hanson Brothers joined the team, scoring on their first two shots on goal and adding another in the closing minutes of the period. They’ve now outscored San Jose, 7-0, in the last four periods. The first two goals came in the game’s opening 2 minutes 39 seconds to bring the black-clad Staples Center crowd into a feverish frenzy. Better yet, the goals came from the third and fourth lines, a great bonus this time of year. The first goal was set up when defenseman Drew Doughty made a nice move to bring the puck out of the defensive end, slid it up to Kevin Westgarth who passed to Trevor Lewis racing up the middle through neutral ice. As Lewis entered the offensive zone, he slid the puck to his left to defenseman Willie Mitchell who sent a wrist shot past San Jose goalie Antti Niemi with 17:34 remaining in the opening period. It was the second career playoff goal for Mitchell, who scored a career-high five goals during the regular season. The third line then took the ice and started their own rush. Brad Richarson whiffed on a shot attempt but got the puck back just behind the San Jose goal and centered to rookie Kyle Clifford, who got enough of the puck to bounce it off Niemi and into the net for his second playoff goal in three postseason games. A turnover in neutral ice led to the third goal. Dustin Penner gained possession after Dustin Brown got his stick on a San Jose pass. Penner, who did not have a point in the last 14 games, slid the puck over to Michal Handzus who blasted it into the open side of the net.
The bad: After taking a two-goal lead, the Kings had a great chance to add to it when Handzus was struck in the face with a high stick from San Jose defenseman Niclas Wallin, resulting in a cut that automatically resulted in a four-minute major penalty. The Kings had a couple good looks but couldn’t cash in.
The in between: The Sharks aren’t as bad as they look. One goal could be all it takes to get them smelling blood in the water. The Kings need to continue throwing everything they have at them, including Westgarth, the team’s resident enforcer who earned his first point since Dec. 29.