The puck ended up on Joe Pavelski’s stick in the slot with Jonathan Quick way out of position. The Sharks’ leading goal-scorer with 41 in the regular season, Pavelski’s attempt at a gaping wide cage was deflected just wide by nemesis Dustin Brown, keeping the score tied.
After getting a fortunate bounce on Patrick Marleau’s overtime winner in Game 3, perhaps that play evened things out in a series that San Jose still leads, three-games-to-one. The Kings scored two goals late in the second and another one early in the third, thus avoiding a first round sweep and sending the series back to San Jose for Game 5 on Saturday with a 6-3 home win.
SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS
David Pollak: Kings defeat Sharks to extend series
While McLellan made it clear he wasn’t holding his goaltender responsible for giving the Kings life in the series, Los Angeles did chase goalie Antti Niemi from the game less than a minute into the third period.
By that time he had given up two goals to both Justin Williams and Marian Gaborik as well as one to Tyler Toffoli. Dustin Brown would score the Kings’ final goal into an empty net.
Mark Purdy: Sharks let down on defense, give Kings life
But let’s face facts. If someone had told the Sharks they would split their two games at Staples Center this week to take a 3-1 lead back to SAP Center, most would have taken that scenario in a heartbeat. These Kings are not the fragile Vancouver Canucks who were ready to be swept by the Sharks in the first round a year ago — and were indeed ousted in four.
No, these Kings have more spine than that. But they clearly do not enjoy playing at the Shark Tank and realize winning Game 5 in San Jose will be tougher than winning Game 4 was at Staples.
From McLellan’s perspective, again it wasn’t about the goals the Sharks didn’t get, it was about the ones they gave up.
“I didn’t like our net play, simple as that. I thought we had some intensity to our game and I thought we were as desperate as they were, but we didn’t execute anywhere near the way they did,” the coach said. “When we go back to the goals it’s quite easy to pinpoint some of the mistakes that we made and for us to have success moving forward, that has to get cleaned up quickly.
Corey Masisak: Kings stay alive by beating Sharks in Game 4
Sutter wanted captain Dustin Brown on the top line with Kopitar and Gaborik, so that meant a shift down to the third unit for Williams.
“For me it’s just getting to the net,” Brown said. “If I can blow my way to the net it opens up ice for those guys. I think Gaborik’s goal in the beginning of the third is a result of it. I gave that guy a lot of space so he’s going to put it in the net. That’s my job to create space for him.”
Curtis Zupke: Williams comes up big again for Kings
Williams was the hero of Game 7 in last season’s conference semifinal series against San Jose. He scored both goals in a span of 2:57 in a 2-1 win that advanced Los Angeles to the conference final. Williams also had the game-winning goal in Game 4 last spring in the conference quarterfinals against the St. Louis Blues.
On Thursday, Williams put the Kings ahead for good at 3-2 when he batted in a puck out of midair after a shot by Willie Mitchell bounced off the glass. Earlier in the period, Williams wristed a shot from the right circle that got through the pads of Sharks goalie Antti Niemi.
SB Nation- FEAR THE FIN
This was billed as the most grueling, competitive series of the first round so perhaps it’s only fitting that the Sharks failed to complete their sweep of the Kings in Los Angeles tonight. Despite dictating play for the majority of the game, some sloppy defensive errors and a couple of unsavory goals allowed by Antti Niemi sealed San Jose’s fate in Game 4 and forces a fifth game of the series on Saturday in the Bay Area.
In many respects, the Sharks were better tonight than they were in their 4-3 overtime win on Tuesday. They rarely allowed the Kings to establish their forecheck and were on offense for lengthy stretches of the game, including almost the entire first period at even-strength. The bounces were uncooperative and Niemi struggled but if the Sharks play like they did tonight on Saturday, they’ll have a good chance to close this thing out in five.