(The Sports Xchange) - Tanner Pearson wasn’t going to get carried away with celebrating his first career Stanley Cup overtime goal.
“Game over, and we won Game 3,” Pearson said matter-of-factly after giving the Los Angeles Kings a 2-1 victory over the San Jose Sharks on Monday. “That’s what we wanted to come in and do, and we accomplished that.”
Pearson’s first goal of the series at 3:47 of sudden death enabled Los Angeles to cut San Jose’s lead in the best-of-seven Western Conference first-round series to 2-1.
Game 4 is Thursday in San Jose.
“The focus stays the same,” Pearson said. “We’re still down 2-1 in this series. We’ll look at some stuff (Tuesday) and get back at it in (Wednesday‘s) game.”
Los Angeles snapped a streak of five consecutive overtime losses to San Jose, while the Sharks fell in overtime for only the second time in 12 tries.
“The reality is they’re a real good team,” Sharks coach Peter DeBoer said. “They have multiple Stanley Cup winners over there. We knew this wasn’t going to be a sweep. We’re in a good spot. We could have won the game tonight, too. We just have to keep rolling out the same game.”
Kings goalie Jonathan Quick made 29 saves for the win, while Sharks goaltender Martin Jones stopped 22 shots.
“It was just a good hockey game,” Sharks’ goal-scorer Joe Thornton said. “It went back and forth both ways. Obviously, we’d like a better fate, but both teams played a good hockey game.”
On the game-deciding play, Los Angeles forward Dustin Brown separated Joonas Donskoi from the puck just over the San Jose blue line, sending the rookie Sharks forward hard to the ice in the process. Brown’s pass sprung Pearson on a two-on-one, and the left winger filled Jones’ five-hole with a low shot.
“We went past the battle a little bit, and they sprung one back the other way,” DeBoer said. “We didn’t give up much all night, and they cashed in on one of their chances. That’s how it goes in overtime.”
Kings defenseman Drew Doughty added, “That was a good game. I thought both teams played pretty well. It was kind of back and forth, both teams get chances, both teams played well defensively.”
The third period was scoreless as the Sharks outshot the Kings 8-4. San Jose had two more power plays in the period but couldn’t manage a shot on either advantage, making them 0-for-5 for the night.
“The last one especially,” Thornton lamented about the power play. “It felt like we were going to get it. The crowd was into it, we were into it. We got a lot of shots. It felt like it was right there. Unfortunately, it didn’t happen.”
Special teams were the story of a scoreless second period.
The Sharks enjoyed two power plays but failed to convert. The Kings went on a late-period power play, but they, too, managed two shots without converting.
Quick was sharp during the middle session. He denied Chris Tierney one-on-one after San Jose’s Nick Spaling forced a turnover and fed his teammate in front. Quick also stopped a Logan Couture blast and Donskoi’s follow attempt inside the final two minutes of the second period.
The Kings, who didn’t manage their first shot of the period until 8:45, had a chance when Kyle Clifford stripped Jones, who scrambled back to save what would have been an embarrassing goal.
The Sharks and Kings were tied 1-1 after a fast-paced first period that saw Los Angeles get the better of shots (13-7) on the strength of its power play.
San Jose broke on top just 30 seconds after the opening faceoff when Thornton scored his first goal of the series. Sharks left winger Tomas Hertl benefited from a Milan Lucic turnover, and he slipped a pass to Thornton, who moved to the slot and fired a low wrist shot that found its way past Quick.
The Sharks had an opportunity to score again but couldn’t hit the net on a power play.
The Kings, meanwhile, needed only 20 seconds on their first power play to tie the game.
Anze Kopitar, who had a big first period, slammed home his first goal of the series off a cross-ice feed from Lucic at 8:10. The sequence started when Los Angeles defenseman Jake Muzzin put a shot on goal from the left point that Jones stopped, but the rebound squirted right to Lucic.
The Sharks were lucky to escape a second short-handed situation following Spaling’s trip at 11:50 of the opening period. The Kings put four quick shots on goal during the first 25 seconds of the power play, and they finished with five shots in all without converting.
“They weren’t going to go away lightly,” Sharks defenseman Justin Braun said. “We’ve just got to come back next game and give a better effort. They won one more battle than us at the end of the night.”