Kings vs. Sharks Game 4 recap: San Jose jumps L.A. early, hangs on late to tie series

Thearon W. Henderson

Logan Couture and Brent Burns starred as the Sharks remained unbeaten on home ice and tied the series.

The San Jose Sharks used a relentless early push and survived a late Los Angeles Kings response to win Game 4 by a 2-1 score and tie their Western Conference Semifinal series at 2-2.

The Sharks stormed out of the gates, outshooting the Kings 15-3 in the first period. All that effort and two first-period power plays yielded only one goal, however, on a tally from converted defenseman Brent Burns.

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The second period was much closer, with the teams logging six shots each and the Kings starting to tilt the ice back by the end of the middle frame. Still, the only second-period goal came from Logan Couture, who deflected in Dan Boyle's point shot to give the Sharks a 2-0 lead heading into the second intermission.

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The Kings caught a tough break, however. It would have been 2-1 if the officials hadn't blown the whistle just a fraction of a second before Dustin Penner knocked this rebound in behind Antti Niemi.

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The Kings continued their pushback in the third period, outshooting the Sharks 14-2. But they only managed one goal, a persistent effort on the power play by Mike Richards.

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Typical of a playoff series that is suddenly much tighter than it looked four days ago, the game featured lots of collisions, some intended and some not.

Early in the second, Dustin Brown and Couture had this inadvertent collision away from the puck.

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And Burns delivered a devastating hit on Brad Richardson in the third period.

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That would do it. Game 5 is Thursday night in Los Angeles, where the Kings will need to keep their playoff home record perfect or risk losing the series when it returns to San Jose for Game 6.

Before Game 4 we pondered three questions. Now we have answers.

How effective will Couture be in Game 4?

Could he be any more effective? The Game 3 hero took more physical beatings in Game 4 but logged 26 shifts and 16:23 of ice time. He also scored what ended up being the winning goal.

Will Los Angeles improve their road record?

Negative. With the loss, they fall to 1-4 on the road in the playoffs this season. But they're undefeated at home, and they'll need to continue that if they want to win this series.

Will the Brown-Kopitar-Williams line contribute any production?

Anze Kopitar, Dustin Brown and Justin Williams have combined for a single goal in the conference semifinal, and that did not change in Game 4. The Kings top line will need to get going to take back control of the series.

More in the NHL:

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