The intensity of game one of the Battle of California did not disappoint as Joe Pavelski and the San Jose Sharks once again prove themselves as road warriors in a 4-3 win over the Los Angeles Kings to take the 1-0 series lead.
Before the game began, Los Angeles Kings head coach Darryl Sutter confirmed that winger Marian Gaborik would not be ready to play and they would be reevaluating his injury later. The Kings did see the return of defenseman Alex Martinez.
Once the game got started, both teams wasted no time in asserting their aggressiveness, as the first period alone saw 38 hits among the two teams.
Throughout the first two periods of play, the Kings and the Sharks continued to trade off goals but remained tied. In the opening play of the third period, Joe Pavelski’s tie breaker would put San Jose up 4-3. San Jose would hold on to that lead all period to win.
Los Angeles wouldn’t go our without a fight. In the last minute of the third period, the Kings would go flex their fore-check muscles and create a strong offensive rush.
Los Angeles’ defenseman Alec Martinez, who just came off injury, would take a blocked Patrick Marleau shot with just a minutes left in the second period. From thereafter, he was not seen for the rest of the game.
When asked about Martinez, Coach Sutter would not comment directly on the matter. He did say that a sidelined Martinez did help the Sharks secure their victory, suggesting a sloppy defensive play without him.
Pending an update on Martinez, losing him would most definitely set Los Angeles back, having already an injured Matt Greene out indefinitely, along with Gaborik remaining sidelined as well.
San Jose goaltender Martin Jones who recorded his first career playoff start, had 21 saved shots on 24 attempts. On the other end of the ice, Jones former mentor, Jonathan Quick made 19 saves on 23 shots against.
With the win the Sharks won their third game at Staple Center of the season, remaining perfect in the arena of Los Angeles.
Game 2 will be Saturday at 7:30 PT at the Staples Center. If it is anything like Game 1, be ready for another all out battle.