Final - OT
  for this game

Thornton's OT winner helps Sharks close out Kings

Apr 26, 2011 - 6:24 AM
Los Angeles, CA (Sports Network) - Joe Thornton scored 2:22 into overtime, as the San Jose Sharks defeated the Los Angeles Kings, 4-3, in Game 6 to advance to the conference semifinals.

The second-seeded Sharks bounced back from Saturday's 3-1 loss to win this Western Conference quarterfinal series 4-2.

Antti Niemi made 26 saves for the Sharks, who are trying to embark on another deep playoff run after making it to the conference finals a year ago. San Jose was swept by Chicago in the third round last year.

Kyle Wellwood, Jason Demers and Dany Heatley also lit the lamp for the Sharks, who won three overtime games in this series.

"LA played extremely hard, they were very well prepared, and their staff did a very good job of preparing their team to play against us," Sharks head coach Todd McLellan said. "We don't do anything easy. There is some resiliency in the locker room; the leadership showed through when it had to, the belief in the goaltenders we had was very important."

Trevor Lewis had a goal and an assist for the Kings, who lost three overtime games in a playoff series for the first time since the 1993 Stanley Cup Finals against Montreal (Games 2, 3 and 4).

Ryan Smyth and Justin Williams also scored for Los Angeles, which got 31 saves from Jonathan Quick. In Game 5, Quick made a franchise playoff-record 51 saves.

The Kings had a great chance to break a 3-3 tie at the end of regulation. With 3:23 to play, San Jose's Jamie McGinn slammed Brad Richardson into the boards and was given a major charging penalty and an automatic game misconduct.

Niemi rose to the occasion, making multiple great saves in the final minutes to send the game into overtime.

Los Angeles' five-minute power play carried into the extra session, but the Sharks killed it off.

"That's a critical moment in the game right there; we had a chance to put it away," Kings head coach Terry Murray said. "I thought we did with about 17 seconds left in the game, there was celebration going on, people were throwing their arms in the air. I thought it was over. But again, that's a missed opportunity."

On the game-winner, Devin Setoguchi carried the puck around the net and found himself along the left boards. His pass to the front of the net hit off Patrick Marleau's skate and bounced around. With Quick out of position, Thornton put the puck into the net for the thrilling victory.

"The puck kind of popped out and I was just in front of the net and grabbed it and put it in the open net," Thornton said. "It was a pretty good play whoever shot the puck. I was just in the right place at the right time."

The Sharks drew first blood at the 2:58 mark of the second period. Wellwood took a pass from Thornton and beat Quick with a shot from the slot.

Thornton's mistake led to Los Angeles' first goal. A double minor for high sticking gave the Kings a four-minute power play at the 11:13 mark. Williams jammed home a rebound over two minutes into the man advantage to make it a 1-1 game.

Demers put the Sharks up 2-1 with 3:08 to play in the middle stanza when his snap shot from the right circle beat Quick.

Smyth scored off a rebound just 18 seconds into the third to make it a 2-2 contest.

San Jose went back in front at the 8:48 mark. Heatley stole the puck at the blue line and made his way to the left circle. His snap shot got past Quick.

Lewis' power-play goal made it 3-3 with 8:21 remaining. Jarret Stoll launched a shot from the left point that hit a skate in front, and Lewis was in the right spot to knock in the loose puck.

Game Notes

Los Angeles has come back from a 3-1 deficit to win a series just once in its history. That was back in 1989 when the Kings ousted Edmonton in seven games of a division semifinal series...The Kings, who lost to Vancouver in the first round last year, haven't won a playoff series since beating Detroit in the opening round of the 2001 postseason...San Jose has never lost a series when leading three-games-to-one.