Kings' Trevor Lewis knocks over San Jose Sharks goaltender Antti… (Jim Gensheimer / MCT )
SAN JOSE — Jonathan Quick waved his stick and yelled at both referees as he left the ice after the Kings' 2-1 overtime loss to the Sharks on Saturday night, irate over the third-period penalty calls that put the Kings at a two-man disadvantage and tested their mettle as much as it challenged their penalty killing.
Quick is normally the calmest man on the ice, stoic in the face of barrages of shots and of beefy forwards crashing his crease. But even he had his limits, and for his trouble he got a game misconduct for abuse of the officials as the Kings contemplated having their series lead narrowed to 2-1.
Was Robyn Regehr's hooking penalty at 19:18 of the third period a legitimate call? And what of Trevor Lewis' goaltender interference call with five seconds left?
BOX SCORE: Sharks 2, Kings 1
Asked if referees Wes McCauley and Marc Joannette had decided the game, Kings Coach Darryl Sutter was coy before the team boarded its charter flight to Los Angeles. They will practice at home Sunday and Monday before returning for Game 4 on Tuesday at HP Pavilion.
"I don't put a whole lot into that," he said. "They said we got a break last game, so what should I say this game? They got a break?"
Several members of the Kings thought so, including Lewis, who said "something happened" to propel him into Antti Niemi. That "something" appeared to be a shove from Patrick Marleau.
The Kings killed off the penalty to Regehr but Logan Couture, who had sat out a chunk of the second period after suffering an apparent leg injury, converted a shot from the slot 1:29 into sudden-death play to complete a fine passing play with linemates Marleau and Joe Thornton.
"It's a tough call to go down five on three with 30 seconds left in the game if Lewie gets pushed into the goalie," center Colin Fraser said. "But he sees it how he sees it and we came within inches of killing it off and getting a big momentum swing."
Before the overtime, he said, players talked about holding on to get back to full strength.
"We kill that off the game could be ours and we came within a whisker of doing it," Fraser said. "We did a great job. They didn't get any looks five on three. A bang-bang play it goes in the net. Two power-play goals and they win, 2-1."
Winger Dustin Penner said he didn't see the play but trusted Lewis' version.
"I found it very tough to believe, with a player as intelligent as Trevor Lewis, that he'd run the goalie. I asked him and he said he got pushed from behind," Penner said. "I believe him and I'm disappointed that the refs had enough confidence to make a gutsy call like that in the last, whatever, 30 seconds of a period.
"It's pretty impressive when they have enough gall to guess. I'm going to look at the tape and I'm going to see if he got pushed, because I know what it's like to drive the net. Sometimes, it happens."
Veteran defenseman Rob Scuderi was a voice of calm in the locker room, choosing to take the positive view.
"It was an up-and-down game. I thought we got stronger as the game went along," he said. "Unfortunately, we just couldn't bury one late second or third period."
Again emphasizing how different this playoff journey has been compared to last year's Stanley Cup ride, Sutter made several lineup changes Saturday.
He inserted rookie Tanner Pearson at left wing on the fourth line and took defenseman Alec Martinez out, in favor of Keaton Ellerby. Tyler Toffoli, added to the lineup during the Kings' first-round series against St. Louis, scored the Kings' only goal Saturday on a nifty backhand after he stole the puck from veteran defenseman Brad Stuart.
"With Tanner and Tyler and Keaton and all these kids, they earned that right and they get the opportunity and see how they play," Sutter said before the game. "I think that's an important part of this, especially this year, the way the schedule has been, it's certainly helped us a lot.
"And I think if I was them young guys, I'd like to be given that opportunity if I'd earned the right. That's sort of how we approached it. I think it's fun for them."
Pearson, called up from Manchester (N.H.) of the American Hockey League after the Monarchs' season ended, expected to simply observe games and learn what he could as a member of the "black aces" practice squad. He began skating with the regulars a few days ago and acknowledged he was surprised to be thrust into playoff play Saturday.
"I was coming up to be a black ace, just expecting to skate with them," Pearson. "I guess anything can happen. … If you had asked me three years ago and saying I'd be playing my first NHL game in three years, I would have taken it in a heartbeat but I probably wouldn't have believed you."
The kids acquitted themselves well. Now, everyone has an extra day to rest and regain their composure. It's up to Quick and the team leaders to remain calm and focused to maintain their hold on this series.