So much for home ice advantage. So much for avenging Ian White. So much for Jarret Stoll's suspension. The Sharks flat out missed the bus to their Game 2 match up with the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday night.[..] the Sharks failure to mount much of a fight can be attributed to everyone up and down the lineup. Ten Shark players were a combined -10 +/-, and goaltender Antti Niemi could only stop 19 of 23 shots.
The Sharks need to figure out how to rebound from what may have arguably been one of their worst playoff performances in team history. [...] The series is now a best of five affair, but the Sharks will need to figure out what hit them first.
Los Angeles finished the evening 2-of-6 on the power play, San Jose a distant 0-for-5. [...] Ryane Clowe didn't get the memo regarding the Sharks penalty killing issues and decided to exact a little revenge by throwing an elbow at Drew Doughty a minute after the Johnson goal.[...] Sharks captain Joe Thornton helped the [Kings'] cause by deciding to hold on to a puck at his own blueline, rather than clear it. The Kings stripped the centerman and worked the puck in the Sharks zone before Doughty converted his first of the playoffs. Clowe's decision making got even more suspect when he laid out Doughty with a cross check in front of the Sharks net. [...] San Jose's power play unit was as effective as the penalty kill, wasting the opportunity with two minutes of perimeter passing that got the puck nowhere near Quick. [...] The wheels completely came off [...] when Clifford bagged a goal from the Sharks doorstep. Thornton fell asleep while parked at the top of the crease, allowing a Brad Richardson pass to slip past him as he lost track of Clifford. [...]
The Sharks [...] have three days to figure out what went wrong and patch up the gaping holes that allowed Doughty and company to run roughshod on HP Pavilion ice.
Ryan Smyth has seen plenty in his 16 NHL seasons. And before Saturday night's [game], he spoke calmly about [the Kings' chances]. "Good teams find a way through adversity," Smyth said. And that's what the Kings were on this night, thoroughly whipping the Sharks 4-0 at HP Pavilion to even the first-round playoff series at one game each. "It's about the will to win," Smyth said in a happy Kings locker room afterward. "You have to dig deep, and everybody stepped up, collectively. A series doesn't really start until somebody wins on the road."
Consider this one officially under way as the teams head to Staples Center for Games 3 and 4. [...]
The Kings played like hockey royalty, and the undisciplined Sharks did everything possible to beat themselves with seven penalties and lackluster play. [...] The Kings' special-teams play also was extra special. Their penalty kill zapped all five of the Sharks' power-play opportunities. (San Jose now is scoreless in seven power plays in the opening two games.) The Los Angeles power play, ranked only 21st in the NHL during the regular season, converted twice in six attempts Saturday. "We were moving the puck well," Doughty said. "We studied their PK closely, found their tendencies, and we exploited them."
I'll leave you with a reasonable, but entirely inaccurate, quote from the comment section of Fearthefin:
teal_and_orange on Apr 17, 2011 11:16 AM PDT
Reasonable because the idea of the Sharks sweeping was always more or less absurd. Inaccurate because, despite Teal-and-orange's -- and my -- conviction that this was going to be a long series, nearly everyone on the planet (by which I mean pundits, and, as was pointed out by someone else in the fearthefin comments, many Kings' commenters) had the Sharks closing out this "easy" series in four or five games.