Kings vs Sharks Game 5: Cage Match
Here comes LA!
The Kings winning game 4 to prevent a sweep by the San Jose’s Sharks felt like an awesome present before ending a truly disappointing series. Then, when fans least expected it, the Kings came out swinging pucks at the net at every opportunity in Saturday night’s game. Instead of weathering a hot start fromn the Sharks, the Kings outshot their rivals 7-1 to start the game. Possession domination eventually paid off on the scoreboard thanks to an excellent rush by Tanner Pearson and Tyler Toffoli.
I can’t stop thinking about this goal. When Pearson took a moment to spot Toffoli entering the zone with him, I can’t even tell. It almost looks like he blindly sent a pass across that Toffoli received perfectly. Toffoli then got a shot off while dragging the puck around James Sheppard and buried the puck, putting the Kings up 1-0. The play immediately made me think back to a Twitter exchange I saw during the March 27th Kings-Penguins game, commenting on the way Pearson and Toffoli sense each other on the ice.
@SpikeC20 If that's Toffoli, that's a goal. Those two have that type of chemistry.
— Andy Tonge (@AndyTonge1) March 28, 2014
The moment referenced there happened late in the third period of that game. Slava Voynov passed to Pearson to clear the Kings zone, and Pearson turned on the jets to reach the Penguins end. Though Dustin Brown skated hard to keep pace with Pearson for a 2-on-1 chance, they didn’t manage to connect.
Toffoli’s opening goal eventually became the game-winner. It was awesome to see them live up to the hype of their partnership on that play.
Later in the period, Anze Kopitar and Dustin Brown represented the long-established Kings with chemistry. Brown shot for goaltender Antti Niemi’s pads to create a rebound that Kopitar banged in net to make it 2-0. An early second period goal from Jeff Carter (assisted by Sharks defenseman Brad Stuart) gave the Kings more than enough insurance and ran Niemi for the second game in a row.
Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick put in his best effort of the series. Though he had an easy go early in the game, the Sharks found more momentum late and tested him with a few quality opportunities, including a glorious chance for Tommy Wingels in tight that Quick lifted his leg pad and glove to stop.
Quick stayed perfect through the end of regulation, the Kings left San Jose with a much more impressive shutout win than they managed in late January, and they now have an opportunity to tie the series at Staples Center on Monday.
One awful thing that happened was Jarret Stoll laying a terrible, stupid hit on Marc-Edouard Vlasic during the first period. He took a roughing penalty but somehow may get away without seeing any supplemental discipline. Vlasic left the ice, and the Sharks eventually stated that he was out for the night with an upper-body injury.