SAN JOSE, Calif. – The San Jose Sharks got a spark from an unusual place and turned a close game into another laugher against Jonathan Quick and the Los Angeles Kings.
Fourth-liners Mike Brown and Raffi Torres scored second-period goals to erase an early two-goal deficit and the Sharks rolled to a 7-2 victory Sunday over the Los Angeles Kings and a 2-0 lead in their first-round series.
“They got us going and everybody followed,” coach Todd McLellan said. “You need that to have success. Success has only been two games. We’ve got a lot left. But you need to have everybody stirring the drink if you will.”
Justin Braun, Patrick Marleau, Joe Pavelski, Logan Couture and Joe Thornton also scored for the Sharks, who overcame a two-goal deficit after the first period of a playoff game for just the third time in 26 tries in franchise history. Antti Niemi made 24 saves.
The Sharks matched a franchise playoff record with seven goals in a game and have 13 goals through two games after managing just 10 in a seven-game loss to Quick and the Kings last year.
“He’s probably the best goalie in the league, so to do that two games in a row, it’s an oddity,” Thornton said. “We’ve been working hard for our goals and the fourth line got this game back in our grip for us, but scoring seven … just a weird night.”
Jake Muzzin and Trevor Lewis scored first-period goals before Quick allowed seven goals in the final two periods. Los Angeles heads home for Game 3 on Tuesday looking to get back into this series.
The Kings can take comfort in the fact that the home team has won 18 of the previous 19 games between these teams, including nine in the playoffs.
Los Angeles also overcame a 2-0 deficit in the first round against St. Louis last year, but those were one-goal games instead of blowouts.
“I wouldn’t exactly call it new,” captain Dustin Brown said. “We were in the same situation last year. We came up here twice and didn’t get anything that we wanted. … Now we go home and we take care of our home ice.”
The Kings appeared poised to steal home-ice advantage when they scored twice in the first period and Quick responded after allowing five goals in two periods of a 6-3 loss in Game 1 on Thursday.
But the Sharks seized momentum in the second period thanks to a decision to drop Pavelski to the third line and a spark from the fourth line.
Known for their ability to deliver hard hits and get into fights, the line of Andrew Desjardins, Torres and Brown has set the tone for the Sharks this series.
Brown pushed Slava Voynov into Quick early in Game 1 and Torres added a goal in that contest. They came through even more in Game 2 with Brown scoring his first career playoff goal on a quick shot from the slot after a turnover by Kyle Clifford to get the Sharks on the board early in the second.
Midway through the period, Desjardins dropped a perfect pass to Torres, who beat Quick up high for the equalizer. Torres missed the final six games of last year’s series for a hit to the head of Jarret Stoll, but has made his impact felt so far in the rematch.
“Any time the fourth line contributes with goals it’s always a bonus,” Mike Brown said. “For us to put in a few here, it’s great for the team, it’s great for the guys to kind of know they have that depth in the fourth line that we can contribute.”
The Sharks took the lead late in the period when Braun beat Quick with a shot from the point through a screen by Tommy Wingels.
Marleau, Pavelski and Couture turned it into a blowout with goals off odd-man rushes in the third before Thornton scored a power-play goal.
“If we’re not playing the way we’re supposed to, having the coverage we’re supposed to then those types of things are going to happen,” defenceman Robyn Regehr said. “We’ve really got to clean that up in a hurry.”
The Kings were undisciplined in the final period, most notably when Mike Richards speared Couture.
“He got me pretty good, a full-on spear right in front of the ref so we’ll see what happens,” Couture said.
NOTES: San Jose’s only other playoff comebacks from two goals down after the first period were on April 23, 1994, against Detroit, and April 19, 2011, against Los Angeles. The Sharks trailed that game to the Kings 3-0 after one and 4-0 in the second before rallying for a 6-5 overtime win. … … The Sharks beat Colorado 7-3 on April 30, 1999. … The Kings scratched F Jordan Nolan in place of a seventh defenceman, Matt Greene, who was on the ice for four San Jose goals.