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Sharks take a commanding 3-1 series lead over LA Kings

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The San Jose Sharks used three goals in both the second and third periods to beat the LA Kings 6-3, Thursday night at the Staples Center.

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Antti Niemi was back in goal after getting pulled Tuesday night and looked as if he regained his championship goaltending form as he kept the Kings scoreless in the first period despite some point-blank chances.

Sharks’ forward, Ryane Clowe opened the scoring at 3:58 of the second period, Jason Demers would score 74 seconds later and Clowe added his second goal to give the Sharks a 3-0 advantage before Kings’ Brad Richardson answered with a tip-in goal at 11:00.

A Justin Williams backhander got the Kings to within one goal with just under four minutes to play in the second period giving the Kings a sense of false hope.

Fresh out of the second intermission, Joe Thornton put the puck past Jonathan Quick at 2:28 to regain the two-goal advantage and Joe Pavelski and Torrey Mitchell would each contribute goals to bolster the Sharks advantage.

Having swept the Kings on the road, and going up 3-1 in the series, the Sharks will now head back to San Jose for a chance to end the series Saturday night .

The third period saw the Kings frustration rear its ugly head with Wayne Simmonds and Kevin Westgarth both getting 10-minute misconduct penalties along with Scott Nichol for the Sharks .

Both Torrey Mitchell and Joe Thornton scored their first goals of the series.

Sharks’ goaltender, Antti Niemi stopped 35 shots adding to the Kings frustration that now leaves them with an unenviable task to come back down 3-1; something only 8% of teams have done in the history of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.