Many people predicted that this series between the San Jose Sharks and Los Angeles Kings would go seven games, but not many predicted that it would take an epic Sharks’ collapse to get it to Game 7.
The Sharks held a 3-0 lead in this series, but based on their 4-1 defeat in Game 6 on Monday night, one could hardly tell they once dominated this series. San Jose allowed three unanswered goals in the third period to the Kings, who broke open a tight, 1-1 game heading into the final stanza.
Unfortunately for the Sharks, the referees played a role in changing the momentum of the game. Midway through the third period, the Kings were working the cycle in the San Jose zone. Robyn Regehr fired the puck to the net, and goaltender Alex Stalock appeared to have it covered, but no whistle was blown. Instead, Justin Williams ended up shoving Stalock towards the net, and puck eventually wound up across the line to give the Kings a 2-1 lead.
After that, the floodgates opened. Two minutes later, on an odd-man rush, Anze Kopitar scored. And just another minute and 15 seconds later, Kopitar scored again, this time on the power play. Both goals came on rebounds that bounced right to Kopitar’s stick in front, leading to easy goals.
It was Kopitar and Williams who powered the Kings’ offense. Prior to his go-ahead goal, Williams put the Kings on the board first, tipping into a pass across the crease by Drew Doughty. The Sharks tied the game in the second period, as Justin Braun‘s slap shot was deflected in by James Sheppard. That goal came after much consternation for the Sharks, who whiffed on three straight power play opportunities, including a 5-on-3.
Ultimately, the final score was not indicative of Stalock’s performance. Stalock played well for two and a half periods, and seemed to lose focus after failing to get the call on the eventual game-winning goal. But all in all, it wasn’t a poor performance for his first playoff start.
There is no excuse, however, for the Sharks losing three consecutive games. Not only must they win on Wednesday night to keep their season alive, but they have also lost any and all momentum to the Kings. Los Angeles has been the better team for three straight games, and one could even argue they were the better team in Game 3, which the Sharks won in overtime.
But despite how we got here, a Game 7 in a playoff series between these two teams is not surprising in the least way. It’s going to come down to one game that will define the season and either allow the Sharks to continue their quest for their first championship, or send them home to pack their golf clubs.
Tale of the Tape
- Shots on goal: 26
- Power play: 0-for-4
- Hits: 29
- Giveaways: 9
- Takeaways: 2
- Faceoffs won: 33
- Shots on goal: 30
- Power play: 1-for-5
- Hits: 34
- Giveaways: 13
- Takeaways: 2
- Faceoffs won: 23
Good to Know
— Ryan Leong (@RyanLeong) April 29, 2014
What’s on Tap
Game 7 is on Wednesday. We can’t wait, but at the same time, we’re deathly afraid of what might happen.
For information on ticket prices for this game 7, along with the other two game 7′s on Wednesday, check out this article on TheStreet.com.