SAN JOSE (AP) — Getting down in a series seems to bring out the best of the Los Angeles Kings. Especially when they’re playing the San Jose Sharks.
Tanner Pearson scored 3:47 into overtime and the Kings bounced back from a pair of series-opening losses at home to beat the Sharks 2-1 in Game 3 in the first round Monday night.
“It’s a confident group when our backs are against the wall,” Pearson said. “We’re still there and we’ve got to fight back to even up the series.”
Anze Kopitar added a power-play goal, Jonathan Quick made 29 saves and Los Angeles killed two third-period penalties to cut San Jose’s lead in the series to 2-1. The Kings rallied from a 3-0 series deficit to beat the Sharks in the first round two years ago on the way to their second Stanley Cup title.
“You know they’re thinking a little bit about it now, so we’re right where we want to be,” said defenseman Drew Doughty, who played 35:01 of the game.
Game 4 is Wednesday night in San Jose.
Joe Thornton scored 30 seconds into the game for the Sharks, but San Jose couldn’t get anything else by Quick as their regular-season pattern of road dominance and home struggles extended to the playoffs. The Sharks led the NHL with 28 road wins in the regular season and added two to start this series. But San Jose has lost 24 of 42 home games for the worst record on home ice of any playoff team.
“It’s the first team to four,” Sharks coach Peter DeBoer said. “I couldn’t care less where we win the game. We played well enough to win the game tonight. We outshot them, outchanced them. We didn’t win.”
Martin Jones made 22 saves but couldn’t stop Pearson.
Dustin Brown laid a big hit on Brenden Dillon in the neutral zone to get the puck to Pearson at the blue line. Pearson skated in on a 2-on-1 with Vincent Lecavalier and decided to shoot for the winner.
“I just didn’t want to risk forcing a pass across and turning it over,” Pearson said. “So I just wanted to get it on net.”
After the teams traded goals in the first, it was a tense contest with neither side wanting to give up any quality chances. The best opportunities came on the power play, with Los Angeles generating numerous chances on one opportunity late in the second period without scoring.
The Kings then survived a penalty kill midway through the third after Milan Lucic was called for slashing Justin Braun well behind the play. The Sharks kept the puck in the offensive zone for almost the entire 2-minute penalty with great puck movement.
But Quick made a big save against Logan Couture and Jake Muzzin came up with a key blocked shot before Los Angeles’ drained penalty killers were able to clear the puck.
“It felt like we were going to get it,” Thornton said. “The crowd was into it. They broke a stick. We had a lot of shots. It felt like it was right there. Unfortunately, it just didn’t happen.”
The Sharks then got a second chance at the power play when Pearson cleared the puck over the glass for a delay of game penalty with 5:56 left in the third, but the Kings killed that one as well, setting the stage for overtime.
The sold-out crowd of teal-clad fans was into the game early, with the traditional “Beat L.A.!” chants starting during pregame warmups for the first playoff game at the Shark Tank since the 2014 playoff collapse. San Jose fed off that energy and scored on the opening shift when Thornton skated across the faceoff circle and beat Quick.
The Kings then were forced to kill a penalty before taking over the play for much of the first period. Los Angeles got the equalizer on the power play when Lucic slid a pass across the crease to Kopitar, who knocked it in for his first goal in his past 11 games against San Jose.
“We knew they were going to come hard in this building. They always do,” Pearson said. “It’s not the start that we wanted obviously, but we trust each other in here that we were going to bounce back.”
NOTES: The Kings had lost all five previous playoff OT games against the Sharks. ... F Kyle Clifford returned to Los Angeles’ lineup in place of Nick Shore. ... NFL Hall of Famer Ronnie Lott, decked out in a No. 42 Sharks jersey, opened the dressing room door to lead San Jose on the ice before the game.