SAN JOSE -- The Sharks might not be able to score six or more goals when they play the Los Angeles Kings in Game 3 of their Western Conference quarterfinal series Tuesday at Staples Center. But there's no question San Jose's speed and north-south style have given the Kings fits through the first two games.
In dominating four of six periods so far, the Sharks have used their quick transition game to generate a host of odd-man rushes and scoring opportunities, leading to 11 even-strength goals and a 2-0 series lead.
"We've done a great job of transitioning quickly, getting on the forecheck," Sharks forward Tommy Wingels said Monday. "I think last night a lot of our goals were off the rush, which is a bit different, but that's the way the game dictated. We were getting pucks up and having success, so we'll look to do that again and stay physical."
Coming into the series, most believed it would be similar to the teams' second-round meeting last season when goals were at a premium. The Kings allowed just 168 goals in the regular season this year, the fewest in the NHL, and San Jose allowed 193 goals, fifth-best in the league.
But with Matt Nieto, Tomas Hertl and even Raffi Torres, the Sharks are a faster, deeper, more skilled group than they were at this time last year, when they scored just 10 goals on Kings goalie Jonathan Quick in a seven-game series.
"The neutral zone has been a big challenge for us," Kings center Jarret Stoll told reporters Monday. "Their speed coming through. You could see a lot of odd-man rushes, a lot of partial breakaways, partial two-on-ones. Those are the things we've got to clean up, and we're relying on Jonathan way too much to make some Grade-A saves."
San Jose was short-handed just once in Game 2, when defenseman Jason Demers was called for charging in the second period with the game tied 2-2. But the Kings managed just one shot on net with the power play.
On the special teams, Sharks coach Todd McLellan said there's "still things we need to clean up in both of them, areas that we have to get better in. We haven't been on the penalty kill that much, which has been a fortunate thing for us as well."
"It's just one of those things. Again, it's a playoff series, and that's just stuff that goes on," Desjardins said Monday. "I don't know. I'm just trying to play my role and just do those kind of things."
Nineteen seconds after the altercation, Mike Richards was called for spearing Logan Couture. Late in the game, Matt Greene tackled Wingels well behind the play, but no penalty was called.
"We've stepped up the physicality, and our speed in the playoffs here. I think it's kind of caught them by surprise, and definitely a level of frustration," Wingels said. "Ultimately we held serve at home here. Now, we need to go on the road and win at least one, hopefully two. We did our job at home, and we're ready to play on the road."