SAN JOSE -- Joe Pavelski's overtime goal sent San Jose past Los Angeles, 3-2, in Game 1 of their Western Conference quarterfinal from HP Pavilion.
Kyle Wellwood began the rush that led to the goal, taking the puck down the left-wing side from center ice. He pulled up at the left circle and dished back into the low slot, where Pavelski whipped a wrister inside the right post to end the game 14:44 into overtime.
"Pavs is a tremendous player for us," Sharks head coach Todd McLellan said. "We count on him in so many situations. He's really recognized at this time of year as a guy who steps up his play and scores some huge goals."
Dany Heatley and Logan Couture also tallied for the Sharks, the second-seeded Pacific Division winners.
Antti Niemi, a Stanley Cup-winning netminder for Chicago last season, began his San Jose playoff career with a 33-save victory.
Playing in his first game since suffering a dislocated right shoulder on March 21, Justin Williams posted a goal and one assist for the Kings, who completed the regular season with 98 points.
Jonathan Quick played well in defeat, stopping 42-of-45 shots.
"We've got to feel pretty good about how we played in this first game," Kings head coach Terry Murray said.
Game 2 of this best-of-seven series takes place on Saturday night in San Jose.
Heatley put the Sharks on the board just 28 seconds in, backhanding a Ryane Clowe feed from in front. It was the quickest goal from the start of a playoff game in franchise history.
San Jose kept the pressure on throughout the opening period, and despite two short-handed situations, still outshot LA 14-3 in the first 20 minutes.
Dustin Brown's one-timer on the left wing from a Williams dish on a Kings power play at 7:25 of the second period evened the score.
Couture flew down the left wing and snuck a shot through Quick's pads at the near post at 10:23 to restore the home team's one-goal edge, but Williams tallied at 16:20 for a 2-2 deadlock.
Kings defenseman Drew Doughty was called for a questionable trip with 2:11 left in regulation but San Jose failed to convert.
The Sharks poured 14 shots on Quick in overtime and Niemi managed to stop all nine he faced in the extra session.
This is the first-ever playoff matchup between the clubs...Sharks defenseman Ian White left the game following the first period and did not return after absorbing a hard hit into the boards by Kings forward Jarret Stoll...Clowe posted three assists...Jonathan Cheechoo's score 36 seconds into Game 2 of a Western semifinal against Detroit in 2007 was the previous fastest San Jose tally to start a playoff contest.