In a series that commenced with the Sharks dominating three
games, the Kings turned it around in near-historic fashion and are
riding momentum into the finale.
Winger Justin Williams and center Anze Kopitar scored two goals
apiece, and goaltender Jonathan Quick made 25 saves as the Kings
beat the Sharks 4-1 Monday, evening the Western Conference
first-round playoff series at three games apiece.
The Sharks, who won the first three games before losing the past
three, will return home for the decisive Game 7 on Wednesday.
Should the Kings win, they would become the fourth team in NHL
history to rally from a 3-0 deficit to win a playoff series.
With Monday's game tied at 1 after two periods, the Kings sealed the
victory with three goals in the space of 2:46 of the third period.
They took the lead on a Williams' second goal of the night at 11:56,
and then Kopitar finished an odd-man rush at 13:27 and added a
power-play goal at 14:42.
Williams' success against the Sharks comes at on surprise to
followers of the rivalry, he has nine goals in 19 playoff games
against San Jose. His game-winning goal was controversial, as the
Sharks thought the puck was frozen under goalie Alex Stalock prior
to Williams pushing it over the goal line.
"We got cheated, it's as simple as that," Sharks coach Todd McLellan
said. "I was told that you could see the puck laying behind his feet
the whole time. That is why the whistle didn't go. It's pretty clear
when you look at it after."
Kings coach Darryl Sutter had a different view of the play that was
reviewed at the league office in Toronto and ruled good.
"The only thing I could see from the bench is the referee pointing
and not blowing the whistle," Sutter said. "That's his call, and the
replay shows the puck's loose, so that's all I could see."
For the second straight playoff series, Los Angeles and San Jose
will go to a seventh and deciding game. Last year, the Kings beat
the Sharks four games to three in the conference semifinals.
The intensity boiled over in the final minutes of regulation Monday,
when the teams dropped the gloves.
"I think that is just the nature of the beast when you have a
seven-game series," Kings winger Dustin Brown said. "Not that there
was any lack of ill-will toward each other at the start, there was
not, but the longer you play, the nastier it gets."
Though the Sharks have home-ice advantage in the deciding game,
their inability to close out the series brings into question the
character of a team that has never reached the Stanley Cup final.
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"We worked all 82 games to have home ice in this situation," Sharks
center Joe Thornton said. "Obviously we would have liked to have won
tonight. I thought we played well until that one goal that we
thought should have been disallowed. We go home now, and it's a huge
The Kings opened the scoring on Williams' third goal of the playoffs
at 5:39 of the first period. Defenseman Drew Doughty penetrated deep
into the San Jose zone, and his cross-ice pass found Williams, who
beat Sharks winger Joe Pavelski to the left post.
The Sharks had a golden opportunity to even the game when the Kings
gave them a five-on-three advantage for 1:33 as defenseman Robyn
Regehr and center Jarret Stoll drew penalties. San Jose was unable
to mount any sustained offense, and the Kings held their one-goal
San Jose drew even at 12:26 of the middle frame when center James
Sheppard scored his second goal of the series. Sheppard deflected a
shot from the point by defenseman Justin Braun that ricocheted off
Regehr's skate and past a screened Quick. Winger Raffi Torres earned
the secondary assist.
Stalock made 26 saves in his first start of the playoffs.
NOTES: San Jose scratched RW Mike Brown, RW Adam Burish, C Bracken
Kearns, D Mirco Mueller, D Matt Pelech, D Marc-Edouard Vlasic, C
Travis Oleksuk, D Dylan Demelo, C Freddie Hamilton, RW Eriah Hayes,
D Taylor Doherty, D Matt Tennyson, C Tyler Kennedy, G Troy Grosenick
and G Harri Sateri. ... Sharks RW Marty Havlat saw his first action
of the series after being a healthy scratch in the series' first
five games. ... Sharks D Dan Boyle led the Sharks in time-on-ice
with an average of 22:20 before Monday, when he played 21:13. The
37-year-old veteran is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent on
July 1. ... Los Angeles did not dress D Matt Greene, C Colin Fraser
and C Jordan Nolan. ... The Kings improved to 14-7 in Game 6s. ...
Los Angeles has played 44 playoff games since 2012, the most in the
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