SAN JOSE — Jonathan Quick made 30 saves to shut out San Jose for the fourth time in his career in the postseason and the Los Angeles Kings staved off elimination for a second straight game by beating the Sharks, 3-0, on Saturday night in Game 5 of their first-round series.
Tyler Toffoli, Anze Kopitar and Jeff Carter scored for the Kings, who have rebounded after losing the first three games of the series. Quick allowed 16 goals in those losses but once again is starting to look like the goalie who stymied the Sharks in a second-round series a year ago.
Antti Niemi allowed three goals on 19 shots and got pulled for the second straight game for the Sharks. Perhaps more importantly, San Jose also lost star defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic to an undisclosed injury after he was roughed by Jarret Stoll late in the first period.
Game 6 is Monday night in Los Angeles as the Kings are looking to become the fourth NHL team to overcome a 3-0 deficit to win a playoff series.
They finally broke through in San Jose after losing five playoff games here the past two seasons and 12 of 13 games here overall. But they will need to win here again to complete the comeback as Game 7 will be in San Jose on Wednesday, if necessary.
The Kings came out looking like a desperate team and dominated from the start against the listless Sharks, who were unable to feed off the energy from a frenzied crowd hoping to see a fierce rival get eliminated.
Los Angeles controlled the game on the ice, the shot clock and the scoreboard to take a 2-0 lead in the first period and mostly silence the crowd. The Kings opened the scoring when Tanner Pearson outraced Vlasic to a loose puck and fed a rushing Toffoli, who patiently skated around James Sheppard and beat Niemi with a shot from the slot to make it 1-0.
The Kings made it 2-0 shortly after Joe Thornton was unable to bat a cross-ice pass from Brent Burns into an empty net. That fueled a 3-on-2 rush the other way and Niemi was unable to control the rebound of Dustin Brown’s shot and Kopitar knocked it in for his first goal of the series.
The Kings were outshooting San Jose 16-5 at that point and managed to kill a penalty to Stoll to leave the period with the same lead they held after one in Game 2.
The Sharks responded to that deficit with seven straight goals, but it was quickly clear that would not repeat when Carter banked a shot off Brad Stuart’s skate past Niemi for a power-play goal 22 seconds into the third period.
That ended Niemi’s night, having allowed eight goals on 45 shots over the past two games. Alex Stalock came in and stopped 22 shots but it was too late to save the Sharks in this game although it could make coach Todd McLellan consider starting him in Game 6.
San Jose finally showed some life late in the second period, but by then Quick was on his game, robbing Brent Burns with a pad save on the power play late in the period.
The Sharks were unable to break through at all against Quick despite taking chances and having three power-play opportunities in the third period.
Notes: Niemi has been pulled four times in 38 playoff starts for San Jose, all against Los Angeles. … Carter has points in nine straight playoff games dating to last season.