When the Kings and Sharks took the ice, they found out the winner of the game would be the #5 seed and play the St. Louis Blues in the first round as they defeated Chicago to clinch the #4 seed. The loser will play the Vancouver Canucks in the first round. The Kings were the #8 seed last year and won so they know they can do it pretty much returning their whole team this year.
The Kings played without Dustin Brown as he was serving the second game of his 2 game suspension for an elbowing incident vs. Minnesota. The first period was very close as the rivals were feeling each other out and it was scoreless.
The Kings broke through first when gritty Kyle Clifford followed up his own shot on a great drop pass from Kopitar aofter a giveaway by the Sharks. Less than one minute later, the Sharks leader goal scorer Logan Couture skated past defenseman Voynov and Scuderi to go top shelf and beat Jonathan Quick to tie it up. Voynov redeemed himself scoring his 6th goal of the year, which got deflected past San Jose goalie Antti Niemi.
Neimi stoned Clifford from point blank range after Carter made some nifty moves to keep the score 2-1 after the second period as he has been a big key to San Jose’s success this year playing incredible in goal. The third period started fast and the Kings made it 3-1 on a beautiful give and go from Brad Richardson with Justin Williams scoring his 11th goal of the year. Dustin Penner did a great job holding the puck in the zone before passing it to Williams to provide them with the winning goal. Penner helped give one back as he lost the puck and the Sharks TJ Galiardi wristed one past Quick on a nice pass from Joe Pavelski to make it a 3-2 final.
The Sharks scoring relies pretty much on 4 guys- Joe Thornton who has a team high 33 assists, Pavelski, Patrick Marleau and Couture while the Kings are more balanced with 7 players with at least 20 points including leader goal scorer Jeff Carter (26), Kopitar (31 assists), Richards, Brown, Doughty, Williams and Voynov contributing.
Los Angeles played without defensemen Matt Greene and Alec Martinez who sat out the regular season finale. The Kings dominated at home with a 19-4-1 record, outscoring opponents, 74-44 but Coach Sutter said he is proud of his players and his team has no problem winning on the road. Kopitar said he knows what his team is getting into vs. the physical big-bodied Blues team. The sell out crowd of 18,443 showed their appreciation at the end of the game with the playoffs coming this week.
So the Kings took the # 5 seed and here is their playoff schedule in the first round vs. St. Louis, who they swept last year in the playoffs. They also went 3-0 this season.
Game 1 Kings at St. Louis Tuesday, April 30 5:00 p.m. (PT)
Game 2 Kings at St. Louis Thursday, May 2 6:30 p.m. (PT)
Game 3 St. Louis at Kings Saturday, May 4 7:00 p.m.
Game 4 St. Louis at Kings Monday, May 6 7:00 p.m.
Game 5 * Kings at St. Louis Wednesday, May 8 TBD
Game 6 * St. Louis at Kings Friday, May 10 TBD
Game 7 * Kings at St. Louis Monday, May 13 TBD
* = if necessary