The San Jose Sharks have the Los Angeles Kings just where they want them - up 3-1 and headed back to Staples Center. Although an even more commanding lead didn't work out so well two seasons ago.
Nevertheless, a rare home win in the series has the Sharks a game away from advancing to the Western Conference semifinals Friday night, while the Kings need to fend off the best road team the NHL has seen in a decade to stay alive.
Wednesday's 3-2 win was the second by a home team in nine meetings this season, and both have been by San Jose. The Sharks have taken six of those games, including all four in Los Angeles after winning twice in their previous 14 visits.
San Jose has won its last five away games and is 10-1-1 over the last two months to get to 30-10-3 for the season. It's one victory from becoming the first team to top 30 road wins in 44 or fewer combined regular-season and playoff games since Detroit in 2005-06.
No team has bettered the Sharks' 28 regular-season road wins since that Red Wings team.
But San Jose won the first three games of the teams' 2014 first-round series before the Kings stormed back and went on to their second Stanley Cup title in three seasons.
That response when seemingly down and out was hinted at in Game 4 with the Kings nearly completing a comeback from three goals down. All four games have been decided by a goal.
"They don't quit," Sharks forward Logan Couture said. "We respect that about them. No matter the score, they're going to continue to push. That has something to do with their coaching staff all the way down to the last player on their team. ... They've won championships for a reason."
The Sharks changed their home fortunes by going 3 for 4 on the power play, and that's been a big part of the success over an 8-3-0 span dating to a 5-2 win over the Kings on March 28. San Jose has gone 12 of 44 (27.3 percent) with the advantage in that time and is also 6 for 21 (28.6) in Los Angeles this season.
Los Angeles was 0 for 2 on Wednesday and is 3 for 23 in a 3-5-1 span.
"That's the difference in the game, obviously," Kings forward Dwight King said. "The three goals, and they had a couple more looks. Things we talked about after, but things we've got to be better at and tighten up.
"Obviously that group's been together probably for five or six years so they're familiar with each other, but overall we just need to refocus as a PK and bear down on our clears."
One of those guys is Joe Pavelski, who scored his fourth goal of the series and has six in his last six overall. Brett Burns' goal preceded that, and both have five points in the series.
Pavelski has eight goals and seven assists in the season series, while the defenseman Burns has eight goals and six assists in his last 11 against the Kings.
That's taken its toll on Jonathan Quick, who's 1-6-0 with a 3.31 goals-against average in the season series.
Martin Jones, Quick's former backup, is having no such troubles. The first-year starter has gone 4-1-0 with a 1.58 GAA dating to the regular-season finale. He's been in goal for all nine meetings this season, winning in his former building four times with a 2.00 mark.