Jim Neveau, NHL Correspondent
If the recap for this game had started being written after the first period, the lead paragraph inevitably would have focused on the poor performance of Antti Niemi. He gave up three goals to the Kings in that frame, and he looked thoroughly outmatched and flustered by the raucous crowd at Staples Center. He ended up getting pulled after allowing a goal early in the second period, and it looked as though the Kings were getting ready to run away and hide with this one.
That’s when the Sharks apparently smelled blood in the water, because they rattled off five goals in that second period to tie the game at 5-5 heading into the third. The Kings did well to prevent any more scoring in the third period, but after failing to convert on a nice opportunity on the offensive end of the ice, the Sharks got out on a great rush and it was Patrick Marleau’s beautiful cross-ice pass to a wide open Devin Setoguchi that set up the game winning goal in overtime, giving the Sharks a hard-fought 6-5 victory.
After Game 2, it appeared that momentum was on the side of the Kings, and the first 21 minutes of this contest seemed to validate that. After that hot start, however, the Sharks managed to turn the tide and deal what could be a crushing blow to this Los Angeles squad. Will the Kings be able to salvage Game 4 and tie this series back up? We’ll have to wait until Thursday night for that, but for now, here were Tuesday’s Stars of the Game:
San Jose Sharks: Ryane Clowe
The distinction could have gone to several different Sharks, with the main contender being Joe Thornton for his face-off prowess in the game, but Clowe definitely earned it in this one. Clowe scored twice in the Sharks’ big second period comeback, including once on the power play, and he also dished out a ton of hits (only was credited with three but definitely threw his weight around more than that).
Clowe was already tagged once in this series as a “SOTG”, so to say that he’s had a big impact so far in these three games would be an understatement.
Los Angeles Kings: Brad Richardson
Even in defeat, the Kings had several players that could have been tagged with the Star distinction. Dustin Brown dished out nine hits and picked up an assist, but it was Richardson that had the best all-around game. In addition to his goal and assist, he also blocked four shots and picked up three hits as well. Factor in his two takeaways and the fact that he was LA’s best face-off man on the night, and you have a recipe for an impact performance.