LOS ANGELES -- The Sharks and Kings skated through a scoreless opening period Thursday night. Then Scott Nichol lured Los Angeles star defenseman Drew Doughty off the ice with offsetting roughing penalties, opening the door to three straight goals by San Jose.
The Kings never fully recovered.
Ryane Clowe scored twice, Jason Demers added another goal in the second period and the Sharks won, 6-3, to take a 3-1 lead in the first-round series.
"Nichol is the reason why they won," Kings coach Terry Murray said. "Three goals were directly responsible for Nichol's game."
Joe Thornton and Joe Pavelski scored in a 54-second span early in the third and Torrey Mitchell followed with his first goal of the playoffs to extend the Sharks' lead.
"I don't know what it is," Doughty said. "They're scoring easy goals. We're giving them tap-in goals and that's not something we usually do."
The Sharks return home for Game Five tonight (10:30 p.m., Versus) having won both games in L.A.
"It's a great opportunity," Clowe said. "You take a 3-1 lead and you're going back to home ice to wrap it up. We should be fired up and we should want to close it out right there."
Los Angeles gave up 12 goals in its two home games.
"That's embarrassing," Jack Johnson said. "We're not going to win a game if they score six goals a game. We're a defensive team and if we're letting in that many goals we're in a lot of trouble."
The Kings had a five-on-three for much of the final 3 minutes after Dany Heatley was penalized for tripping and Nichol got a 10-minute misconduct, but they failed to convert. The frustrated Kings got two 10-minute misconducts themselves in the closing seconds.
Murray was incensed by Heatley's tripping of Alec Martinez, saying the move could have caused a broken leg or injured knee.
"That's a gutless move," Murray said. "You don't do that in hockey."
Antti Niemi made 35 saves while back in goal for the Sharks after being pulled for giving up four consecutive goals to the Kings on Tuesday.