SAN JOSE -- The Sharks scored only 10 goals a year ago in their seven-game playoff series against the Los Angeles Kings and goalie Jonathan Quick.
Thursday night they had half that number in just two periods in Game 1 of the first-round playoff series, then held on for a 6-3 victory over the Kings that saw them plant Quick on the bench after 40 minutes.
"Just a weird night," said Sharks captain Joe Thornton, who scored the first goal. "We got fortunate with a couple of those goals. We just had some fortunate bounces, a couple that were just out of reach. I expect him to be better next game."
It was exactly the kind of physical battle everybody expected between the Western Conference rivals, and San Jose's fourth line of Raffi Torres, Andrew Desjardins and Mike Brown set the tone.
But San Jose's offensive explosion -- the Sharks got a goal from one forward on each of their four lines plus defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic -- probably wasn't in anybody's script.
Patrick Marleau, Tomas Hertl and Torres also scored on Quick, and Brent Burns hit an empty net for San Jose's final tally. Goalie Antti Niemi stopped the first 19 shots he faced before giving up third-period goals to Jake Muzzin, Slava Voynov and Trevor Lewis.
But don't expect the Sharks to spend too much time admiring this one.
After the game, coach Todd McLellan endorsed the advice he had passed along earlier in the day from associate coach Larry Robinson, who won the Stanley Cup nine times as a player, coach and consultant.
"He said it today -- when a game is over, it's over, regardless of what happens, and it's time to move on," McLellan said. "You can stink the place out or you can be the best you've ever been. It's over, move on. We'll follow the guy with the nine rings."
The Sharks may not have been the best they've ever been, but they definitely were better than they had been in weeks as San Jose scored early and often to set the Kings on their heels.
Los Angeles actually got the first scoring threat just 18 seconds into the game, but Niemi got his pad on a 13-foot wrist shot by Jeff Carter. After that, the opening 20 minutes belonged to the Sharks.
Burns set up San Jose's first goal, zigzagging away from Kings defenseman Robyn Regher and one-handing a pass to Joe Pavelski in the slot. Pavelski sent the puck toward the net, and Thornton was able to tip it past Quick for a 1-0 lead at 3:06.
The Sharks scored two goals 48 seconds apart in the final minute of the first period, with Hertl getting his first goal in the three games since coming back from knee surgery at 19:08 and Marleau finishing off an odd-man rush he started with Matt Nieto to give San Jose a 3-0 lead after 20 minutes.
Torres extended the lead to 4-0 at 12:56 of the second when he converted the rebound of a shot by Vlasic that hit the post, then Vlasic made it a 5-0 game at 16:49 when he capped some precise passing by the second power-play unit by putting the puck through Quick's five-hole.
"They were good periods," McLellan said of the first 40 minutes. "We didn't give up very much, we got on the attack and had everybody involved. I thought our goaltender made some real good saves in those two periods to keep us ahead. Special teams worked well."
His team down 5-0 to start the third after facing 28 San Jose shots, Kings coach Darryl Sutter replaced Quick with backup Martin Jones.
The Kings crept back into the game with Muzzin's goal at 2:01 of the third period after a giveaway by defenseman Jason Demers in his own zone. They closed the gap to 5-2 at 6:55 on a goal by Voynov after Niemi's clearing attempt up the glass failed, and it became a 5-3 game at 13:59 when a shot by Carter went in off Lewis' skate.
McLellan stressed it was only one game in a best-of-seven series.
"We only have to look back to last year," he said. "They went to St. Louis and went down 2-0 and still came back and won four straight."
Healthy Torres, Hertl make immediate
impact in playoff opener. PAGE 6
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