San Jose, CA – Antti Niemi made 22 saves to help the San Jose Sharks take a 2-1 win over the Los Angeles Kings in Game 4 of this Western Conference semifinal series.
Thanks to a pair of wins in San Jose, the Sharks were able to tie this best- of-seven set at 2-2 after dropping the first two games in Los Angeles, where Game 5 will take place on Thursday.
The Sharks, who swept the Canucks in the opening round, got goals from Brent Burns and Logan Couture on Tuesday.
"I thought we really established our forecheck well and that helped us get our first goal," said San Jose head coach Todd McLellan. "That's the type of game we have to play because we have big bodies and some speed that we need to use to our advantage."
Mike Richards had the only goal of the game for the Kings, who received 21 saves from Jonathan Quick in the setback.
"I think we battled back and made it close, but you don't get much for making it close," said Los Angeles head coach Darryl Sutter. "I think our role players kept us in the game and they have in the past three games."
The only goal of the first period went to San Jose at the 6:09 mark. Joe Thornton fed the disc from behind the net to the right circle, where Burns sent a shot on net that was blocked in front. The puck went back to Thornton, though, and he again fed Burns, who buried that one for his second score of the playoffs.
Los Angeles killed off two San Jose power plays later in the period as Quick finished the frame with 14 stops, while Niemi had to make just three saves to keep the Kings off the board.
Skating on the power play, the Sharks made it a 2-0 game when a slap shot in the high slot by Dan Boyle hit off the knee of Couture and went into the net at 3:55 of the second period.
San Jose caught a big break thanks to a quick whistle with 13:54 left in the middle stanza. The Kings' Slava Voynov sent a pass from the right point to the slot and Tyler Toffoli redirected it on net. Niemi got a piece of the puck and it trickled behind him, with Dustin Penner tapping it in, The referee, though, blew the whistle before Penner got the puck in and the score remained 2-0.
Niemi stopped six shots in the second period to keep it a 2-0 game going into the final frame.
The Kings finally got one past Niemi near the midway mark of the third on the power play. Jeff Carter fired a shot on net from the right circle that was stopped, but Richards was at the right side and was able to bank his second swipe off of Niemi and in.
Los Angeles, though, couldn't get any more past Niemi, who finished the final frame with 13 stops for the win.
Los Angeles was 1-for-3 on the power play, while San Jose went 1-for-4 on the man advantage ... San Jose forward Martin Havlat sat out the game. He returned to play in Game 3 after sustaining a lower-body injury in the quarterfinal opener against Vancouver ... This is just the second playoff series between these two squads. The Sharks took a six-game series in the 2011 quarterfinals ... Thornton has eight assists in the playoffs.