Joe Pavelski scored 14:44 into overtime to give the San Jose Sharks a 3-2 victory over the Los Angeles Kings in Game 1 of their all-California opening round playoff series Thursday night.
Pavelski took a pass from Kyle Wellwood as the trailer on a three-on-two advantage and fired a forehand past Jonathan Quick for his second career playoff overtime goal.
Dany Heatley and Logan Couture also scored and Ryane Clowe had three assists for the Sharks, who had lost five of their previous six series openers. Antti Niemi made 33 saves.
Dustin Brown and Justin Williams scored for the Kings, who have won just one playoff series since going to the Stanley Cup final with Wayne Gretzky in 1993. Quick made 42 saves.
Game 2 is Saturday night in San Jose.
The teams traded good chances earlier in a sloppy overtime with Brad Richardson poking a rebound from the side of the net just wide for Los Angeles early in the period and Quick making a pad save against Joe Thornton midway through the overtime. Quick then made a nice pad save on Jason Demers later in the period and covered up the rebound just before Wellwood could get to it.
Quick had little chance on Pavelski’s game-winner that sent the fans at the soldout Shark Tank into delirium after a roller coaster game that saw each team dominate for long stretches.
The Kings killed off a penalty in the closing minutes of regulation after Drew Doughty was called for tripping in the offensive zone with 2:11 to play.
Los Angeles had the best scoring chance of the third period in the opening minutes with a two-on-one after Douglas Murray broke his stick. But Niemi made a spectacular sliding pad save to rob Kyle Clifford and keep the game tied at 2.
The Sharks didn’t even manage a single shot on goal for the first 9:51 of the third, but put heavy pressure on Quick late in the period to no avail.
After being thoroughly dominated for the first 26 minutes of the game when they were outshot 18-3, the Kings turned the tables on the Sharks. It started when Niclas Wallin was called for delay of game, giving the Kings their third power-play of the game. Couture missed the net on a three-on-one chance and Williams broke back the other way on an odd-man rush for the Kings. He sent a cross-ice pass to Brown, whose one-timer easily beat Niemi to tie the game at 1.
Couture atoned for the goal when he beat Doughty to the outside, avoided a hip check and powered the puck through Quick’s pads just a few minutes later to put the Sharks on top.
But Los Angeles dominated play for the rest of the period, getting the equalizer when Murray and Boyle collided with Ryan Smyth behind the net. Williams came up with the loose puck and tucked it into the net before Niemi even realized where the puck was.
The Kings weren’t even sure Williams would play this series after he dislocated his right shoulder on March 21 against Calgary. He missed the final nine games of the regular season but returned to the ice this week just in time for the Kings.
Niemi came up with a pad stop on Willie Mitchell late in the period and then Richardson’s shot in the closing seconds got through Niemi’s pads but trickled wide of the net. The Kings put up 16 shots in the final 14 minutes of the second period.
The crowd was in a frenzy starting in pregame warmups for the start of just the third all-California playoff series in NHL history, waving white pompoms and chanting “Beat L.A.!”
Before the fans could even settle down, the Sharks jumped out to the early lead on the game’s opening shift. Ian White, playing his first postseason game after 401 regular season contests, got the puck in deep and fed Clowe. Quick made a pad stop of Clowe, but Heatley came down the slot and knocked a backhand in for the fastest postseason goal in Sharks history just 28 seconds into the game. The Sharks kept the pressure up for the rest of the period, outshooting Los Angeles 14-3.