San Jose’s Logan Couture returned from an injury to score in overtime and give the Sharks a 2-1 win over the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday, cutting the deficit in their NHL second-round playoff series to 2-1.
Also on Saturday, Detroit beat Chicago to square their series at 1-1.
San Jose had suffered a couple of galling defeats in the opening two rounds of the series, but they responded on Saturday in a game they could not afford to lose.
Whereas the Kings had received some contentious calls in the opening two games, this time the Sharks were the beneficiaries.
Tommy Wingels drew a hooking penalty on Robyn Regehr with 41.7 seconds left in regulation. However, the call that really had the Kings steaming came when Trevor Lewis was called for goaltender interference when he crashed into Antti Niemi with 4.5 seconds remaining.
Los Angeles argued that Patrick Marleau pushed Lewis, and goalie Jonathan Quick got a game misconduct for arguing with the officials after the game.
That gave San Jose a five-on-three advantage for the first 1:19 of overtime. The Sharks could not convert with two extra men, but got the winner when Marleau set up Couture in front, who beat Quick for the game-winner.
Rookie Tyler Toffoli scored the lone goal for the defending Stanley Cup champions Kings, who had won six straight games since dropping the first two in the opening round in St Louis.
Couture’s first career playoff overtime goal came after he missed most of the second period when he limped off the ice favoring his left leg. He returned to an ovation in the final minute of the second.
Meanwhile, Detroit’s Damien Brunner and Brendan Smith scored in the second period as the Red Wings beat the Chicago Blackhawks 4-1.
Just as the Blackhawks did in Game 1, Detroit took control in the second period and put the game away in the third.
Patrick Kane gave Chicago a 1-0 lead late in the first, but the game changed markedly after that.
Brunner tied it when he deflected a wrist shot by Jakub Kindl early in the second, and Smith gave the Red Wings the lead when he scored off a feed from Henrik Zetterberg on a three-on-one late in the second.
Johan Franzen made it 3-1 in the third when he fired a rising shot past Crawford after a perfect pass from Jonathan Ericsson in the Detroit zone. Valtteri Filppula closed out the scoring with 7:57 left in the game.