The Kings' Milan Lucic, right, and the Justin Braun go for the puck in Game 4 of the Western Conference first-round series on April 20.
The Kings' Milan Lucic, right, and the Justin Braun go for the puck in Game 4 of the Western Conference first-round series on April 20. (Ezra Shaw / Getty Images)

You could say the view up the mountain isn't quite as dire for the Kings as it was two years ago.

Degree of dire.


That might be nitpicking

The Kings are facing another massive deficit after the San Jose Sharks beat them, 3-2, on Wednesday night at SAP Center in Game 4 of their first-round playoff series. San Jose leads the best-of-seven series, three games to one.

Next up for the Kings: An elimination game on their home ice at Staples Center on Friday night. The Kings staged a comeback for the ages in 2014 against the Sharks after losing the first three games in the first round.

What is now required will be a mini-version of that rally.

"Obviously, you can use your experience, but to get out of it, we're going to have focus on one game," said Kings winger Dwight King. "Our goal is to go back and establish our game and just start playing a lot better — and be a little tougher on their top guys."

San Jose survived a furious third-period push by the Kings, who had trailed, 3-0. The Kings tested their former teammate, Sharks goalie Martin Jones, who stayed resolute under major pressure in the waning seconds. Jones made 26 saves.

It took that big deficit for the Kings to finally emerge from what looked like a malaise. Their rally was led by defenseman Luke Schenn. He scored once and set up another goal in the third period, helping cut the Sharks' lead to 3-2.

Initially, the Kings' first goal was credited to Schenn but was later changed to forward Trevor Lewis. Lewis ended the shutout bid of Jones at 2:49 of the third period with a deflection of Schenn's shot.

The Kings waited through a lengthy process when the Sharks challenged the goal on the basis of goalie interference by Lewis. Lewis was battling for position in front of Jones with Sharks defenseman Brent Burns. Ultimately, the initial call made on the ice, a good goal, was upheld.

Schenn then pulled the Kings within a goal when he scored at 6:44, taking advantage of a screen set in front of Jones by King.

Until then, it had been all Sharks, all three of their goals coming on the power play. San Jose was trying to bounce back from a 0-5 showing on the man advantage in Game 3.

They were ruthlessly proficient in Game 4. They scored two in the second period and one in the third.

"That's the difference in the game," King said. "The three power-play goals — and they had a couple more looks. Those were things we talked about afterward, the things we have to be better at."

After a scoreless opening period, Burns made it 1-0 at 2:09 when Kings center Jeff Carter had gone off for roughing defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic, beating Kings goalie Jonathan Quick on a one-timer from the right circle.


Sharks captain Joe Pavelski scored his fourth goal of the series, making it, 2-0, at 9:21. Pavelski converted a slick pass from Joe Thornton, who was behind the net.

Patrick Marleau gave the Sharks a 3-0 lead at 1:40 of the third just after Kings defenseman Jamie McBain went off for high-sticking.

"I mean, it's been a tight series, all four games," said Jones. "A bounce here, a bounce there, you have to make sure you're on the right side of those. Down 3-0 in the game and 2-1 in the series, you know they're going to come with a push. But again, except for a couple of unfortunate bounces, I thought we did a great job holding the lead there."

Kings Coach Darryl Sutter also hit upon the one-game-at-a-time mantra, saying about the task at hand: "Probably the same as when you're down one game or two games, you can only win one at a time. It's not any more difficult than that."

Twitter: @reallisa