LOS ANGELES – Now we know why no one wanted to play the Los Angeles Kings in the first round of the playoffs. They just won’t go away and refuse to give up.
Monday night had the San Jose Sharks looking to close out their series with the Kings at the Staples Center in downtown LA.
Now they need to wait to finish the series in San Jose Wednesday in a deciding game seven as the Kings used a flurry of goals late in the third period to stun the Kings, 4-1.
“I don’t think anybody expected it to unfold how it did,” Kings captain Dustin Brown said. “I think we started to improve our game with each game. To do what we needed to do, we had to keep getting better. Part of it is the belief system over the past five, six years here. That goes a long way at this time of year.”
Emotions and frustrations boiled over in the closing minutes as the Sharks were feeling the pressure from the Kings three-goal effort in the third.
Justin Williams and Anze Kopitar each had two goals and an assist for the Kings as they now have momentum and confidence on their side.
The Sharks? They have little of each as a quick scan of the bench Monday night showed slumped shoulders and sagging helmets.
The back breaker was the go-ahead goal by Williams to start the rally in the third. The goal appeared to be under goalie Alex Stalock’s pads. But the referee, who seemed about to blow the whistle, gave the good goal sign as the puck was dislodged by Williams sending the Staples Center into a frenzy and the Sharks bench into a rage.
“We got cheated. Simple as that,” Sharks coach Todd McLellan said. “I was told 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 [it wasn’t]. That was obviously the turning point. Got to move on and overcome it again.”
San Jose lost its composure through the final eight minutes of the game and now need to refocus for game seven.
“We worked all 82 games to have home ice in this situation,” Sharks captain Joe Thornton said. “Obviously we would have liked to win 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 game.”
The Kings are where everyone was afraid they would be in this first round, a strong position to advance to the second round and eliminate a quality team in the process.
“From an X-and-O standpoint, we’re just getting back quicker to our zone,” LA’s Dustin Brown said. “They have a really good forecheck, but if we can get back quick and help each other with the support and clean passes, it gives a chance to break their forecheck and go the other way. From there, it is about puck possession.”http://