LOS ANGELES (AP) — The San Jose Sharks are moving on, not only surviving three overtime playoff games against the Los Angeles Kings but winning each one.
The latest came Monday night, with Joe Thornton scoring 2:22 into the extra session to give San Jose a 4-3 win that closed out the series in Game 6.
The Sharks led three times in the game, and each time the Kings answered with tying goals.
Los Angeles got handed a huge opportunity when the Sharks’ Jamie McGinn received a 5-minute major and an automatic game misconduct at 16:37 of the third period for charging Brad Richardson, putting the Kings on the power play for the final minutes of regulation.
The Kings had four shots on goal, including two by Dustin Brown, that Antti Niemi stopped to send the game into overtime again. They opened overtime with 1:37 left on McGinn’s penalty, but didn’t manage a shot on goal.
“We didn’t get a lot of opportunities,” Jack Johnson said. “They were very aggressive, which forced us to make plays a little quicker than we wanted to.”
Shortly after the Sharks killed off the major, Thornton found the left side of the net open and scored the winning goal, sending him sliding on the ice in celebration.
“You’ve seen this whole series, weird things happen in front of the net. It just spit out nicely and I just gobbled it up,” he said. “I was just in the right place at the right time. It felt great.”
Kings goalie Jonathan Quick got caught out of position on the right side.
“It hit a skate and bounced off his tape,” Quick said. “If we played a little better, we could’ve gone longer. We feel like we gave them a few games earlier in the series.”
Kyle Wellwood, Jason Demers and Dany Heatley also scored for the Sharks, who avoided a seventh game in San Jose.
“San Jose came out in the first period and played as good a hockey game as they played all year long,” Kings coach Terry Murray said. “They played a real intense tempo game.”
Justin Williams, Ryan Smyth and rookie Trevor Lewis scored for the Kings, who lost in the opening round for the second straight year and have won just one playoff series since their run to the 1993 Stanley Cup finals with Wayne Gretzky.
“To go out in the first round is really disappointing,” Johnson said.
Gretzky attended the game, but even having the retired superstar on hand couldn’t boost the Kings to a needed victory. Instead, they ended up losing all three home games in the series and all three overtime games — just like in the ’93 finals when Los Angeles lost three straight OT games to Montreal.
“We had a 4-0 lead at home in Game 3 and two other OT games and were right there,” forward Dustin Brown said. “The difference between winning and losing is that small. They found ways to get goals in OT and we didn’t.”
Niemi made 26 saves for the Sharks after being pulled in two of the last three games.
“We had the lead three times, but they kept coming back on us,” Heatley said. “That 5-minute penalty kill was huge for us. That’s sometimes how hockey works, you do a good job like that and you get rewarded at the end.”
Quick stopped 31 shots. He gave up 16 goals in the Kings’ three home games.
“We fully believe we could have won it. That’s why we’re so disappointed,” defenseman Drew Doughty said.
The Kings rallied a third time to tie it at 3 in the third period. Lewis scored his first career playoff goal on a power-play rebound at 11:39 with Demers off for interference.
Heatley’s goal off the right post on a broken play by the Kings gave San Jose its third lead of the game, 3-2 at 8:48 of the third period.
NOTES: Los Angeles was 5 for 24 on the power play in the series. … Kings D Rob Scuderi briefly left the game in the second period after taking a skate blade near his eye in a collision with Sharks D Niclas Wallin along the boards. … There were no goals or penalties in the first period, when the Sharks outshot the Kings 16-5. … The Kings fell to 11-6 all-time in Game 6s.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)