San Jose Sharks goalie Antti Niemi (31) celebrates defeating the Los Angeles Kings with teammate Dan Boyle (22) following Game 4 of their NHL Western Conference semifinal playoff hockey game in San Jose, California May 21, 2013. (Photo : REUTERS/Robert Galbraith (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT ICE HOCKEY))
The San Jose Sharks will look to take their first lead in the Western Conference semifinals when they visit the Los Angeles Kings in Game 5 on Thursday.
The Sharks pulled off two consecutive 2-1 victories on home ice to remain undefeated at the HP Pavilion in the playoffs this season. However, the team must now do something that no team has accomplished thus far in this postseason: win at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. The Kings won three out of three on home ice against the St. Louis Blues in the opening round and won both home games in this series against the Sharks.
"We knew going into this series we'd have to win one game at Staples Center if we want to win this series," Sharks center Logan Couture said.
"We've done our job at home. We need to go into L.A. and win a game on Thursday. We're looking forward to it."
"I thought they were very good early on," said Sharks coach Todd McLellan about his team's play.
"They established a relentless forecheck and used their size to get our first goal. The momentum they created ran throughout the rest of the lines. And everybody jumped on board. That's the type of game that group has to play."
The Sharks dominated the Kings in the opening period by outshooting them 15-3; the Kings were lucky that goaltender Jonathan Quick was on his game and the score was only 1-0 after 20 minutes.
"We've got to start on time," Los Angeles defenseman Matt Greene, back after missing nearly a month due to injury, told the Los Angeles Times.
"It's easy to play when you get down 2-0. You open up a little bit. We've got to start on time. We've got to play better right away. You can't be trying to come back every night in the playoffs."
Prediction: The Sharks have all the momentum and know how to shut down the Kings' top forwards. San Jose wins Game 5 by the score of 3-2.
Start Time: 10:30 PM EST
TV: NBCSN, TSN, RDS