SAN JOSE, Calif. – The Los Angeles Kings are now the team bemoaning a late penalty while the San Jose Sharks celebrate a dramatic win.
With the script being flipped from Game 2 in Los Angeles, the Sharks have played their way back into this second-round series against their Southern California rivals.
Logan Couture returned from a second-period injury to score a power-play goal 1:29 into overtime that helped the Sharks bounce back from two losses in Los Angeles to beat the Kings 2-1 in Game 3 on Saturday night.
The second loss was particularly crushing as San Jose led 3-2 late in regulation before a pair of penalties—including a questionable delay-of-game call—led to two power-play goals that gave Los Angeles a 2-0 series lead. Instead of moping around, the Sharks responded with a big win.
“I thought the transition from being down to, ‘Let’s get ready to go,’ was exceptional,” coach Todd McLellan said. “The leaders did a great job. But you always have to take that test. You find out a lot about your team. We obviously showed up to play tonight.”
This time, the Sharks were the beneficiaries of some late game calls.
Tommy Wingels drew a hooking penalty on Robyn Regehr with 41.7 seconds left in regulation. But the call that really had the Kings steaming came when Trevor Lewis was called for goaltender interference when he crashed into Antti Niemi with 4.5 seconds remaining.
Los Angeles argued that Patrick Marleau pushed Lewis, and goalie Jonathan Quick got a game misconduct for arguing with the officials after the game.
“I find it very tough to believe that a player as intelligent as Trevor Lewis, that he’d run the goalie,” Kings forward Dustin Penner said. “I asked him and he said he got pushed from behind. I believe him. I’m disappointed that the refs had enough confidence to make a gutsy call like that in the last 30 seconds of the period.
“It’s pretty impressive when you have enough gall to guess because I’m going to look at the tape and I’m going to see if he got pushed because I know what it’s like to drive the net.”
That gave San Jose a 5-on-3 advantage for the first 1:19 of overtime. The Sharks couldn’t convert with two extra men, but got the winner after Regehr came back when Marleau set up Couture in front, who beat Quick for the game-winner.
“They said we got a break last game, so now they got a break,” Kings coach Darryl Sutter said.
Dan Boyle scored a power-play goal early in the first period, and Niemi made 26 saves for the Sharks, who have dominated on home ice all season.
Rookie Tyler Toffoli scored the lone goal for the defending Stanley Cup champion Kings, who had won six straight games since dropping the first two in the opening round in St. Louis. Quick made 38 saves.
Game 4 is Tuesday night in San Jose.
Couture’s first career playoff overtime goal came after he missed most of the second period when he limped off the ice favouring his left leg. He returned to an ovation in the final minute of the second and then got the Sharks back into the series in overtime.
“When you see someone leave after stepping on a puck like that, you don’t know if he’s going to come back or not,” Marleau said. “And now he has his stick back in the game. And he scores the overtime winner. It’s huge. It’s to see him be able to push through that kind of pain.”
The Sharks survived a scoreless second period in which they played with a short bench for much of it. Marty Havlat, back for the first time since being knocked out of Game 1 in the first round because of a lower-body injury, left after the first period and didn’t return.
Defenceman Scott Hannan missed time early in the period after sliding face first into the boards, and Couture was also out.
Despite having just 10 forwards for most of the period, the Sharks got the better chances with only a sterling pad save by Quick against Andrew Desjardins keeping the game tied at 1 heading into the third.
“Guys really stepped up,” Pavelski said. “The fourth line played a lot. Guys stepped up with short shifts. We had good game management. We did a good job.”
The sold-out crowd was in a frenzy from the start, hoping to help the Sharks rebound from the late-game collapse in Game 2 in Los Angeles that put them in the 0-2 hole.
This time, the Sharks were on the positive end of a puck being played into the seats, getting a power play 90 seconds into the game when Jake Muzzin’s clearing attempt went over the glass for a delay of game. It took just 4 seconds for San Jose to get its first power-play goal of the series as Joe Pavelski won the faceoff against Anze Kopitar back to Marleau, who fed Boyle for the blast from inside the blue line.
The Kings withstood that early storm, getting the equalizer shortly after killing a second power play midway through the period. Brad Stuart turned the puck over, trying to come out of the defensive zone, right to Toffoli, who skated in and beat Niemi with a backhand to make it 1-1.
NOTES: The Kings made a couple of lineup switches with F Tanner Pearson playing in place of Jordan Nolan, and Keaton Ellerby replacing Alec Martinez, who was on the ice for all three San Jose goals in Game 2. Pearson is the third Kings player ever to make his NHL debut in the post-season. … The Sharks were fined $100,000 before the game for general manager Doug Wilson’s comments Friday criticizing the suspension of F Raffi Torres for the rest of the series for his Game 1 hit that knocked out Jarret Stoll.