The Los Angeles Kings regained control of their Western Conference semi-final against the San Jose Sharks with a convincing 3-0 Game Five victory to move one win away from claiming a series triumph.
The defending Stanley Cup champions maintained the series theme of home-ice domination to seize a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven set before the teams return to San Jose for Game Six.
After a goalless first period, Anze Kopitar opened the scoring for the Kings in the final few minutes of the second as he pounced on the rebound of a Kyle Clifford long-range shot to notch his second tally of the playoffs, first in this series.
Stirred by a fanatical home support, the Kings refused to relinquish the advantage and doubled their lead early in the third when Slava Voynov connected from distance just 53 seconds into the final period.
Jeff Carter capped a comprehensive performance for the hosts when he steered the puck into an empty net to complete the scoring.
"I think a good start [was the key to the win]," Kopitar told reporters.
"We can all agree that it was probably our best effort in the playoffs so far. We needed it and we came up big in this one."
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