Kings Dominate Sharks- The San Jose Sharks entered Game 5 of their best of seven series against the Los Angeles Kings Saturday night with a chance to clinch the series. By the time Game 5 was over, Team Teal looked like the team that was now in trouble. In a dominant wire to wire performance, the Kings took no prisoners in a 3-0 win over the Sharks that was nothing short of a beat down on Team Teal. Los Angeles outshot the Sharks 18-6 in the first period, 12-2 in the games’ first 10 minutes and got goals from Tyler Toffoli and Anze Kopitar. From that point the Kings never looked back. Their third goal of the night came on a power play 32 seconds into the second period from Jeff Carter. The Sharks power play went 0 for 4 for the contest and was grossly ineffective as Team Teal for much of the evening flailed away for most if not all of the entire game. Antti Niemi did not even last very long into the second period as he was pulled by Head Coach Todd McLellan after Carter’s goal. Alex Stalock came into the game in relief and at least gave the Sharks some brief pause for hope. However as it turned out the Sharks simply had nothing to offer on the evening as Jonathan Quick regained his old form and stopped 30 Team Teal shots on goal rather easily.
LA In Control Throughout- Every shift in the first period saw Los Angeles attack the Sharks much in the same way the Sharks were attacking the Kings in the first two games of this series. The Sharks were unable to break the LA forecheck as the Kings controlled the puck for much of the game. Even with the Sharks laying some hits on the Kings late in the first period the visitors were unphased and simply just stuck with their game plan throughout. In short Team Teal simply got owned in the first period and really throughout the contest. The Sharks simply had no answers for what the Kings brought to the rink Saturday night. It did not help that Team Teal was at times rather sloppy when they handled the puck as they made several turnovers, primary in the neutral zone which prevented them from getting any effective wave of offensive attacks going. Alex Stalock as it turned out was the Sharks best player on the ice for the evening as he made 22 saves and did all he could to try and keep the Sharks in the game. The rest of the Sharks just failed up and down the entire line-up and really only have themselves to blame for it. At the same time however you also have to give credit to the LA Kings who simply came out and played very well with house money on their side. To make matters ever worse for the Sharks, one of their top defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic was injured in the first period and did not return after a collision with LA’s Jarret Stoll.
Analysis for Game 5- The Sharks missed a huge opportunity to close out the Los Angeles Kings in Game 4, which was made even more apparent by the way they got dominated in Game 5. Team Teal had the same opportunity in Game 5 and just did not bring the same purposeful play to this game that they had earlier in the series. Jonathan Quick gave up 12 goals in the first two games at the Shark Tank, and in Game 5 he gets maybe one of the easiest shutouts of his career as the Sharks despite 30 shots on goal never really came close to getting one past him. The Sharks rarely created any traffic in front of Quick. Gone were all the tactics the Sharks used to get under his skin. Why the Sharks got away from this is a mystery. Certainly Kings Head Coach Darryl Sutter and his staff made changes and adjustments which have enabled the Kings to climb back into the series. The Sharks apparently did not recognize this in Game 4 and as the result were taken by surprise in Game 5. The Sharks had no answers here and now will need to find some as they head back to Los Angeles for Game 6 Monday Night. The Sharks lead the series 3-2, but right now it’s a very precarious lead at best. Maybe Patrick Marleau’s game winning goal in Game 3 is bigger right now that we even realize. In the end it comes down to what a team as both individual players and as a team is willing and able to do to raise their games to a level that is required to get to this game’s ultimate prize. Do the Sharks have that team? We will find out soon enough. Their greatest challenge now lies ahead of them.
Game 6- The Sharks will try again to clinch this series as the they take on the Los Angeles Kings in Game 6 of this best of seven series. The puck drops at the Staples Center at 7pm PDT. The game can be seen on CSNCA, NBCSN, CBC as well as heard along the Sharks Radio Network.
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