Captain Dustin Brown tied it with 1:43 left and Trevor Lewis scored the tiebreaking power-play goal 22 seconds later, propelling the Los Angeles Kings to a stunning 4-3 victory over the San Jose Sharks on Thursday night and a 2-0 series lead.
Brown scored during a 5-on-3 advantage and Lewis provided the winner on a loose puck with 1:21 left, sending Staples Center into shocked celebration. The defending Stanley Cup champions won their 12th straight home game since March and their sixth straight postseason game.
Marc-Edouard Vlasic scored his first career playoff goal with 11:04 to play for the Sharks, who were doomed by two late penalties after rallying from an early two-goal deficit.
Jonathan Quick made 28 saves for the in San Jose.
Patrick Marleau and Brad Stuart scored second-period goals for the Sharks, who largely dominated the first two periods with another barrage of speed and skill. Los Angeles got rolling in the third period — and with two late goals, the Kings landed one of the most amazing victories in their relatively thin playoff history.
Jeff Carter scored on the Kings’ first shot and added an assist on Brown’s goal in front of Niemi. Drew Doughty scored an early power-play goal for Los Angeles.
After Vlasic’s score on a rebound, the Sharks seemed to be cruising to a win — until Stuart was whistled for tripping with 2:41 to play. Just 22 seconds later, Vlasic joined him in the box when he shot the puck over the glass, although Vlasic claimed the puck had deflected off Carter.
The Kings scored a minute later, with Brown pounding home his second goal of the postseason. Lewis got the winner shortly after the ensuing faceoff, finding a loose puck on the back side of a scrum in front of Niemi. Lewis hadn’t scored in the postseason, but the forward scored two goals in the Kings’ Cup-clinching win over New Jersey last June.
Los Angeles has won six straight home playoff games dating to last season’s Stanley Cup clincher, but none was more surprising than this victory. The Sharks appeared to be sure Quick couldn’t steal another win after the Kings took the opener despite getting outshot 35-20.
Quick’s streak of more than 125 minutes of shutout hockey ended in the second period with two quick goals. Vlasic then gave San Jose its first lead with a rebound goal on Stuart’s shot off the end boards midway through the period, capping a lengthy scramble near Quick’s net. Vlasic didn’t score a goal in his first 73 career playoff games.
The Kings were forced to make several changes in the absence of Jarret Stoll, a third-line center and faceoff specialist, who was out after taking a high hit from Sharks winger Raffi Torres in Game 1. Stoll was replaced by Brad Richardson, who notched a key power-play assist.