April 23, 2016 / 5:46 AM / 3 years ago

Sharks exorcise demons, eliminate Kings

(The Sports Xchange) - Brent Burns said he rarely dwells on 2014. That was when the San Jose Sharks collapsed in the Western Conference quarterfinals against the Los Angeles Kings.

Apr 22, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; San Jose Sharks right wing Joonas Donskoi (27) celebrates with right wing Joel Ward (42) after scoring a goal in the first period against the Los Angeles Kings in game five of the first round of the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

“The only time I really think about it is when I’m asked a question (about it),” Burns said. “It’s been a totally different year. It’s been a great group.”

Joonas Donskoi scored twice, including the go-ahead goal in the third period, and the Sharks eliminated the Kings from the Stanley Cup playoffs with a 6-3 victory on Friday at Staples Center.

Donskoi slammed home the winner at 3:58 of the third as the Sharks won the Western Conference quarterfinal series 4-1 and exacted revenge from Los Angeles after the Kings erased a 3-0 deficit by winning the final four games of their first-round series in 2014.

This wasn’t much easier, the Sharks said, but the result was entirely different.

“If you look throughout the series, we had to work to get any kind of balance against this team,” said Pavelski, who tied his career high of five goals in a series. “There were I don’t know how many open nets we had where their defense were making saves right from Game 1. They were making some good plays. There were some good saves on both sides, but definitely it was a great team breakthrough tonight and we stayed with it.”

Pavelski added a goal at 12:24 of the third as San Jose advanced to the second round, where it meets Anaheim or Nashville. That series is tied 2-2.

Melker Karlsson scored an empty-netter with 22 seconds left in the third.

Logan Couture and Brent Burns each had three assists for San Jose.

Second-period goals by Anze Kopitar, Jeff Carter and Kris Versteeg rallied the Kings from a 3-0 deficit, but the Sharks seized the lead again in the third.

“We were chasing the lead all the time pretty much every game, with the exception of game one when we scored first and we were chasing the lead the rest of the way,” Kopitar said. “You just can’t do that.”

Goaltender Martin Jones — a former King — made 19 saves for San Jose.

The Kings’ Jonathan Quick stopped 22 shots.

Donskoi scored on a wrist shot for his first goal of the series at 1:08 of the first period for a 1-0 San Jose lead.

The Sharks had a chance to increase the margin for 1:44 early in the first with a 5-on-3 advantage after Dustin Brown followed Luke Schenn to the box for tripping Jones, but the Kings prevented them from scoring.

However, Chris Tierney, on an assist from Brent Burns, made Los Angeles pay at 11:21 with his first goal of the series to make it 2-0.

In the second period, a tip-in by Matt Nieto pushed the margin to 3-0 at 4:05. For Nieto, it was his first goal of the series.

San Jose got another chance to increase the deficit when Patrick Marleau was awarded a penalty shot after getting hooked on a breakaway by Jake Muzzin at 5:31 of the second, but Quick stuffed it.

Shortly after, Los Angeles launched its comeback.

Kopitar was credited with a goal that took two fortuitous bounces. Drew Doughty fired a rocked that glanced off Dwight King and then off the skate of Kopitar for the center’s second goal of the series and reduce San Jose’s lead to 3-1.

Carter sliced it to a goal when he fielded a pass from Muzzin and bounced a shot off the top of the crossbar and into the net at 11:26.

Versteeg tied the score with 3:24 left in the second.

But the rally would go for naught.

“We never came to the dressing room after a period with a lead and we weren’t able to establish the lead and play with it for the whole series, and we were always playing from behind,” Kings left winger Milan Lucic said.

Editing by Peter Rutherford

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