San Jose, CA – Once again, the San Jose Sharks used home ice to their benefit to get back into their series with the Los Angeles Kings.
Logan Couture scored the deciding goal on the power play 1:29 into overtime as the resilient Sharks bounced back from a potentially deflating defeat two nights prior with a 2-1 victory in Game 3 of this Western Conference semifinal.
The Sharks fell into an 0-2 hole against the defending Stanley Cup champion Kings after Los Angeles put up two power-play goals within a 22-second span over the final two minutes to pull out a 4-3 triumph in Thursday's Game 2, but regained their own scoring touch on the man advantage while feeding off the crowd at HP Pavilion, where San Jose went 17-2-5 during the regular season.
Dan Boyle also tallied on the power play, a situation where the Sharks went 0- for-7 in dropping the first two games in Los Angeles, while Antti Niemi turned aside 26-of-27 shots in the critical win.
"It was a real, real important win for us. We felt we let them get away in LA," Sharks head coach Todd McLellan stated afterward.
Tyler Toffoli potted the lone goal for the Kings, who received 38 saves from Jonathan Quick but were ultimately doomed by a pair of penalties late in regulation.
Game 4 of this best-of-seven set will take place Tuesday at HP Pavilion.
With both netminders stingy throughout, the contest headed into extra time mired in a 1-1 deadlock, though the score didn't remain that way for long due to the Kings' inability to stay out of the box.
Robyn Regehr was sent off with 41.7 seconds remaining in regulation for hooking the Sharks' Tommy Wingels, and Trevor Lewis was whistled for charging into Niemi with 5.2 seconds on the clock with Los Angeles on a shorthanded rush.
"I'm disappointed that the refs had enough confidence to make a gutsy call like that in the last 30 seconds of the period," Kings forward Dustin Penner said of Lewis' penalty.
The Kings were able to kill off Regehr's penalty, but San Jose worked the puck to Patrick Marleau in the right slot on the resulting 5-on-4. Marleau's quick feed to Couture was then ripped over Quick's glove to give the Sharks the win -- and some new life as well.
Fueled by Thursday's heartbreaking loss and the urgency of the situation, the Sharks came out determined and capitalized on the game's first break, a penalty on Kings defenseman Jake Muzzin for shooting the puck over the glass just 1:31 in.
It took San Jose a mere four seconds to convert, as Boyle rocketed home a one- timer following a faceoff win from Joe Pavelski to claim a quick 1-0 lead.
Los Angeles drew even just past the midway mark of the opening period with the aid of a San Jose turnover. Toffoli intercepted a bad clearing attempt from defenseman Brad Stuart in the Sharks' zone, then fired in a backhander with Niemi caught out of position for the rookie's first career playoff goal.
San Jose continued to control much of the action in the second period, outshooting the Kings by a 14-7 count despite not having the dangerous Couture available for the majority of the frame due to an apparent leg injury. He returned to the ice just prior to the intermission.
"I thought when [Couture] came [back] in it gave our team a lift," said McLellan.
Quick kept it a 1-1 game heading into the third, however, with several strong stops that included back-to-back turnbacks of Andrew Desjardins and Pavelski from in close with around five minutes left in the middle session.
Both goaltenders continued to stand tall in the third period, with neither team gaining an edge until the Kings' late wave of penalties.
Marleau assisted on both San Jose goals ... The NHL announced on Saturday that the Sharks have been fined $100,000 for general manager Doug Wilson's comments critical of the league's decision to suspend wing Raffi Torres the entire series for a hit to the head to Los Angeles' Jarrett Stoll in Game 1. Stoll missed a second straight game as a result of the incident ... Forward Martin Havlat returned to the San Jose lineup for the first time since sustaining a lower-body injury in the team's playoff opener at Vancouver, but played less than five minutes before exiting in the first period ... Forward Tanner Pearson, the Kings' first-round pick in the 2012 draft, made his NHL debut on the team's fourth line ... The Sharks improved to 4-0 in these playoffs when scoring first.