Minnesota Wild, Los Angeles Kings Force Game 5

Chris Porter, Kari Lehtonen
The Associated Press

The Minnesota Wild and Los Angeles Kings have each forced their respective series to a Game 5 after much needed wins in Game 3.

The Wild defeated the Dallas Stars 5-3 after an incredibly slow start in Game 3. Stars forward Patrick Sharp opened the game with a goal only 26 seconds into the game. It sucked the energy out of the players and arena. Sharp added to the pain with another goal four minutes later.

But the Wild reconnected and showed more speed and consistency as the first period dragged on. They ended it on a high note when forward Chris Porter scored his first playoff goal with less than a minute in the period.

It was all Wild after that. Erik Haula, Jason Pominville made it 3-2 in the second period. Mikko Koivu scored a power play goal in the third period to give them a 4-2 lead.

Stars forward Colton Sceviour scored a goal to make it 4-3. The Wild tried to challenge a high stick and goalie interference, but the refs insisted it was a good goal.

Pominville put the game away with an empty net goal at the end to make sure they played a Game 5.

“We don’t make it easy on ourselves. We have a history of that,” he expressed after the game. “We’ve got to dig ourselves out of holes but for the most part we’ve responded pretty well, first to get into the postseason, second to respond the way we did tonight.”

The Kings, behind goalie Jonathan Quick, avoided a 0-3 series deficit to make sure they lived to see a Game 5. However, it started when Sharks forward Joe Thornton grabbed the puck after Kings forward Milan Lucic fumbled it to score 30 seconds into the game.

But the Kings would not give up. Forward Anze Kopitar scored his first playoff goal to even up the game 1-1.

Sharks goalie martin Jones kept his team in the game in the second period after the Kings landed 11 shots on him. In the third, Quick had to step up after his teammates committed two senseless penalties.

It took one hit in overtime to change everything.

With a quick scoop, Tanner Pearson took the puck to Jones and drilled it into the net to secure the win.

“We knew they were going to come hard in this building,” he said. “They always do. It’s not the start that we wanted, obviously, but we trust each other in here that we were going to bounce back. It’s a confident group when our backs are against the wall. We’re still there and we’ve got to fight back to even up the series.”