LOS ANGELES — Dustin Brown slumped in front of his locker and contemplated the final minutes of Game 2 with the same bewildered wonder felt by all those joyous Kings fans streaming out of Staples Center.
With three minutes left, the San Jose Sharks appeared to be cruising toward a well-deserved win over Los Angeles. After two penalties and two dynamic power play goals, though, the Kings were halfway to the Western Conference finals.
And even the Kings weren’t quite sure how they got there.
Brown tied it with 1:43 left, and Trevor Lewis scored the tiebreaking power play goal 22 seconds later, propelling the defending Stanley Cup champions to a 4-3 victory Thursday night and a 2-0 series lead.
“It’s huge, I guess,” Brown said. “Two minutes left, down one, it’s about capitalizing. The power play is about scoring big goals, and we found a way to do that. We’re happy with the result, but we have to play better. We can’t let it get to that situation every night.”
Brown scored during a 5-on-3 advantage, and Lewis provided the winner on a loose puck with 1:21 left, sending Staples Center into shocked celebration. The Kings won their 12th straight home game since March and their sixth straight postseason game, but only after getting outplayed for long stretches and needing late-game magic to thrive.
“It’s a roller coaster, but when you go through the experience of everything we did last year, you keep your emotions in check,” Brown said. “Even when that happens, you know there’s a lot of work still to do.”
Game 3 is Saturday night at the Shark Tank.
Jeff Carter scored on the Kings’ first shot and added an assist on Brown’s goal. Drew Doughty scored an early power play goal for Los Angeles, which didn’t really get rolling until the third period — and with two late goals, the Kings landed one of the most amazing victories in their relatively thin playoff history.
“We found a way,” Los Angeles coach Darryl Sutter said. “You know what? The power play was on. We’ve been talking about it. We’ve been getting good looks and good opportunities and not finishing, and we got it from different guys.”
Jonathan Quick made 28 saves for the Kings, tying Kelly Hrudey‘s franchise record with his 26th career playoff victory. Antti Niemi stopped 27 shots for the Sharks but was powerless to stop the Kings’ power play.
The Kings played without veteran center Jarret Stoll, who didn’t return to Game 1 after a hit from San Jose’s Raffi Torres late in the second period. Torres was suspended for the rest of the series Thursday by the NHL’s Department of Player Safety for his illegal check to the head after a hearing in New York.