The view from San Jose
SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS
David Pollak: Kings beat Sharks 4-1, force Game 7
Now the Sharks face the possibility of becoming only the fourth NHL team to lose a playoff series after taking the first three games. And the fact San Jose won the first two by a combined 13-5 margin only makes that development more puzzling.
The disputed goal by Williams was the first of three during a span of 2:46 that quickly ended any San Jose thoughts of forcing overtime. It was Williams’ second of the night, with Kings center Anze Kopitar potting the next two to spoil what had been a strong first playoff start for Stalock.
Mark Purdy: Sharks need to reboot, and quickly
Welcome to a best-of-one, Wednesday night at SAP Center.
And it would be helpful if some of the Sharks’ top scorers from the regular season managed to put some pucks on the net in that one. Stalock, who replaced Antti Niemi in the net Monday, wasn’t the sole reason the Sharks lost. Joe Pavelski, Patrick Marleau and Joe Thornton have been way too quiet in the last two games.
Los Angeles piled on after the controversial ruling, taking advantage of a seemingly deflated Sharks club that will now try and avoid becoming just the fourth NHL team to ever lose a best-of-seven series when ahead three games to none. Anze Kopitar put the game away with two more scores in the third, one on a three-on-two rush and another on a power play.
…Stalock was the main focus leading up to the game, when it was announced on Monday morning he would be making his first career playoff start in place of a wobbly Antti Niemi. He allowed Williams to score in the first period on a dandy pass from the corner by Drew Doughty after Justin Braun didn’t pressure the defenseman enough, but recovered to make some key stops later in the opening frame.
Kevin Kurz: Sharks’ Thornton has run-ins with Brown, Quick
Quick has acted borderline foolishly several times during the first round series, including a pair of dives with Mike Brown around the crease, and a laughable moment in Game 3 when he grabbed Logan Couture’s leg and wouldn’t let go when the Sharks forward was in front of the net.
Riling up the goaltender isn’t an uncommon occurrence, according to his teammates.
Corey Masisak: Kings win third straight, force Game 7 against Sharks
Kopitar scored on the rebound of a Williams shot at 13:27 and again on the power play at 14:42 to complete the three-goal surge. Williams now leads the Kings with four goals in this series and Kopitar has a team-high eight points.
The Kings are the ninth team in NHL history to force a seventh game after trailing a series 3-0. Three teams have come back to win a Game 7 after losing the first three games. Most recently, the Philadelphia Flyers won four straight to win a seven-game series against the Boston Bruins in the 2010 Eastern Conference Semifinals, a Flyers team which featured current Kings forwards Mike Richards and Jeff Carter. They would be the first players to ever do it twice.
Curtis Zupke: Sharks must regroup after third straight loss to Kings
“Obviously we didn’t respond very well,” McLellan said. “At that point, with seven minutes left, you open it up a little bit, and two or three shifts later we’re caught pinching. We give up an outnumbered rush. It’s not completely over, but it’s looking pretty gloom. They’re a tough team to play against when they have the lead, and you try to open it up and they make you pay for it. You’ve got to play even or you’ve got to play ahead. Our take-home value of it will be to that seven or six-minute mark. After the goal, we’ll call it … we have to respond better.”
McLellan and the Sharks argued that Stalock had the puck secured under his pad and that Stalock was pushed by Williams. McLellan said he was told by officials that the puck was lying behind Stalock’s feet the whole time and therefore didn’t warrant a whistle.
SB Nation – FEAR THE FIN
The Neutral: Sharks lose again, series somehow headed to Game 7
There isn’t much else to say about tonight’s game, apart from that it ended up serving as the in-hindsight-inevitable precursor to the Sharks either making history in the worst way imaginable or moving on to a second-round series against Anaheim. That overshadows everything that actually transpired on the ice, which was an extremely tightly-contested game until Justin Williams’ second goal of the night broke a 1-1 tie with a little over eight minutes remaining in the third period. After a regular season in which the Sharks repeatedly had goals waived off thanks to the dubious “intent to blow” rule, they were intent-to-blown once again as Williams poked a loose puck free from between Alex Stalock’s pads after the Sharks goaltender appeared to have frozen it.
It was a controversial goal to be sure but the Sharks just fell apart at the seams afterwards. A poorly-timed line change gave the Kings a 3-on-2 on which Anze Kopitar capitalized before adding another goal on a subsequent power play. And while San Jose controlled the second period, particularly in the aftermath of James Sheppard’s tying marker on a deflection midway through, it was all Los Angeles in the third as the Kings team we saw throttle the Sharks in Game 5 were back to their old tricks, making it impossible for San Jose to generate any type of speed coming through the neutral zone.