Jim Neveau, NHL Correspondent
After a heartbreaking Game 1 defeat on a Joe Pavelski overtime goal, the Los Angeles Kings could have easily moped around and gotten their rear ends handed to them in Game 2 and no one would have been surprised. What happened instead was that they came out with a purpose and put forth a spectacular all-around effort in a 4-0 shutout win over the San Jose Sharks to even their quarterfinal series at one game apiece.
The key for Los Angeles in their victory was not only killing off all of their penalties, but it was also taking advantage of the opportunities that the Sharks provided to them for man-advantage situations. The Kings did both of those things in earnest on Saturday night, scoring two power play goals and killing off all five Sharks power plays en route to the victory. It was a very solid all-around team effort by the Kings, and it can definitely be argued that Los Angeles seized the momentum in this series by shutting down the Sharks on all fronts.
Now, with the series shifting to the Staples Center, the question becomes whether or not that the Sharks can rebound from this loss. Having the veteran leadership of guys like Patrick Marleau and Joe Thornton can help, but if their penalty killing and team defense don’t improve from what we saw on Saturday, this series could turn irrevocably towards the upstart Kings.
With that, here were Saturday’s stars of the game for each team:
Los Angeles Kings – Drew Doughty
An argument could definitely have been made for Jonathan Quick in this one, as he often looked spectacular in saving all 34 shots that he faced from the Sharks, but Doughty definitely earned Star of the Game honors here. His four-point performance tied the record for most points in a game by a Los Angeles defenseman, and his two goals helped keep the Sharks at bay.
The impetus behind his great play in this one was likely a desire to validate himself after a poor hipcheck attempt allowed Logan Couture to get behind him and score in Game 1, and if he’s able to answer back after a poor effort like that, he could be a dangerous weapon for the Kings going forward.
San Jose Sharks – Dan Boyle
It’s always a tricky proposition picking a star from a team that didn’t score any goals, but Boyle definitely warrants some mention for his performance on Saturday. He put three shots on net, blocked three more, and picked up two takeaways in 26:24 of ice time. He was also even in the plus/minus category for the evening, which wasn’t easy considering that only seven other Sharks were, and none of them played as much as he did. It was a good game for Boyle, but unfortunately it did not help the Sharks to a win.