Playoff Game 1: Kings leave it on the ice in Game One

Los Angeles Kings goalie Jonathan Quick (32) and right wing Wayne Simmonds (17) lies on the ice after San Jose Sharks center Joe Pavelski, not shown, scored the winning goal during overtime in Game 1 to win 3-2- of an NHL hockey first-round Western Conference playoff series in San Jose, Calif., Thursday, April 14, 2011. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)

San Jose Sharks left wing Ben Eager (55) and Los Angeles Kings left wing Kyle Clifford, left, get into a fight in the first period of Game 1 of an NHL hockey first-round Western Conference playoff series in San Jose, Calif., Thursday, April 14, 2011. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma) Game 1: Sharks 3, Kings 2 (OT)

To peep out all the videos online about this game, check out today's Hockeywood Dailies.

For the first time in their 20-year history in the NHL, the Kings and the Sharks squared off for a postseason tilt of sudden death hockey. And despite all the negativity heading into the game, many Kings fans were anxious to see if the team could shock the world and upset the heavily, heavily favored Sharks.

Then they went out and allowed a goal within the first 30 seconds of the game. So much for that.

Granted, the quick strike by the Sharks' Dany Heatley was discouraging, and you could tell the Kings really didn't know how to respond from such a rapid score.

The good thing about letting a goal in so early is the ability to finally get your head past it and start focusing on the game. In the Kings' case, it took them all of the first period and the better part of the second period to shake off the nerves and look comfortable on the ice.

How out of sorts were they? In the first period, they were granted a four-minute power play, when Ryan Crowe hammered Dustin Brown. How many shots did they register with the man-advantage? None. Zero. Zip. Zilch.

Ouch.

The Sharks kept taking runs at the Kings' Justin Williams, back in the lineup after missing nine games with an injured shoulder. But Williams didn't seem to mind the extra attention he was being paid. That is playoff hockey, and if you aren't getting hurt, you aren't play hard.

Jarret Stoll was playing hard when he ran Sharks defenseman Ian White into the glass. He wasn't called for the infraction, but White soon left the game and didn't return. Considering Stoll is not that kind of cheap shot artist, I doubt he'll get anything more than a slap on the wrist.

But as I said earlier, the second period was an entirely a different story. In the first, L.A. could only muster three measly shots, in the second, they outshot San Jose 16-9. It was in the second period that the formerly injured Williams made his presence known. he had a nifty pass to Brown to tie the game at 1-1. Then, he scored when he tucked the puck behind Antti Niemi to make it 2-2.

Williams played over 20 minutes, had six shots on goals and looked like a man on a mission to try and carry the team on his bum wing. But Williams at 75 percent wasn't good enough to push the Kings over the hump. With the exception of Ryan Smyth's four shots, no other player had more than two. Yikes.

The game stayed deadlocked the rest of the way until they got to overtime, a position that was familar to them. But instead of playing for the tie and decide the game in a shootout, which they deftly did this season, they returned for a fourth frame. By then, they were too gassed to keep up with the ponies of San Jose. And at the 14 minute mark, Joe Pavelski slapped a shot past Jonathan Quick to clinch Game One.

But...

This game was a statement game. Every journalist I came across proclaimed this matchup to be lopsided. I even heard a suggestion that it'll only take three games to eliminate the Kings. To those writers and talking heads I can say one thing: the Kings are not a pushover team.

When Drew Doughty got an odd tripping call with two minutes left in the game, I cried shenanigans. But the Kings did what they have been known to do well this season, they had a key PK as time elapsed in the game to force OT.

The way the team, and especially Quick, battled back and got right in the faces of their long-time opponents from NorCal. This was not a team that is going to be intimidated.This is not a team that is in awe of the gaudy numbers of the top line. There's plenty of fight left in this squad, even without star center Anze Kopitar.

Scoring will still be an issue from here on out, but the questions about their heart were answered loud and clear Thursday night in the HP Pavilion.

Drew Doughty #8 of the Los Angeles Kings gets a penalty call for tripping Kyle Wellwood #20 of the San Jose Sharks in Game One of the Western Conference Quarterfinals during the 2011 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at the HP Pavilion on April 14, 2011 in San Jose, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) • AP: Sharks beat Kings 3-2 in OT in Game 1
Williams, who missed the last nine games of the regular season with a dislocated right shoulder, came up with the loose puck and tucked it into the net before Niemi even realized where the puck was. The Kings put up 16 shots in the final 14 minutes of the second period.
• LA Times: Kings' determination is outdone by Sharks' depth in 3-2 overtime loss in Game 1
This matchup of the Kings, who faded to seventh in the West, and the Sharks, who finished atop the Pacific Division and earned the No. 2 seeding, was closer than their regular-season finishes would suggest. They battled fiercely, playing the third period and overtime at a gasp-a-minute pace until the Sharks' depth prevailed.
• LAKings.com: Kings dropped in overtime
Is it possible to be upset and satisfied at the same time? Relieved and concerned? Frustrated and hopeful? That's where the Kings found themselves late Thursday night, in something of a playoff purgatory, not sure which way to go.
• Daily News: Kings fail to get early edge
The underdog Kings couldn't quite steal Game 1 Thursday.  But to those who didn't give them much of a chance against the heavily favored San Jose Sharks in the first round of the Western Conference playoffs, the Kings believe they showed they're no patsies in a 3-2 overtime loss in front of 17,562 at HP Pavilion.
• NHL.com: Pavelski's OT goal gives Sharks Game 1 win
The Sharks were down to five defensemen after Ian White took a hit into the boards from Kings forward Jarret Stoll and didn't return. Stoll wasn't penalized and McLellan said league officials were looking into the play.
Los Angeles Kings goalie Jonathan Quick deflects a San Jose Sharks shot in the first period of Game 1 of an NHL hockey first-round Western Conference playoff series in San Jose, Calif., Thursday, April 14, 2011. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma) They said it
"Really, in overtime it’s anyone’s game. We had some chances, they had some chances and they ended up winning. But as I said before the game, if you win this, you can’t get too high, and we’re not going to get too low right now. We played well. we came up short, but that just makes the second game a little bit more important.” – Justin Williams, on the game.
“We did a lot of good things out there. They’re a great hockey team, and we were one shot away. We had our chances. Niemi made a few big saves for them and, at the end of the day, they just got one more than we did. So we’ve got to refocus, get ready. It’s in the past at this point. We’ve got to learn from it and win Game 2.” – Jonathan Quick, on the game.
“He was a little low there. I don’t know what he was doing, if he was reaching for a puck or what. He was right against the boards, too, and he was a little low. I just finished my check on him, and it ended up pretty bad for him. I hope he’s all right. You hate to see a guy get hurt, regular season or playoffs. I definitely wasn’t trying to hurt him.” – Jarret Stoll, on his hit on Ian White.
“When you go into the playoffs, you’ve got to be able to hold your ground in different situations. You’ve got to be gritty at both ends of the rink, at the net. You’ve got to compete for your ice along the dot-to-boards. You’ve got to push. You don’t ever want to back down. That’s the kiss of death. The opposition is going to read that and come right after you. I really liked our compete. I liked our attitude about sticking with it. So we do feel good about coming back into Game 2.” – Terry Murray, on the Kings’ physical play.
 

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