Apr 26, 2011, 1:55 AM EDT
Indulge me for one moment and picture the laziest heckler in the world. This person doesn’t get to watch every game, but knows enough about final results to christen players as “chokers” or “heroes.”
That person must be awfully unhappy right now. In the span of one round, the Washington Capitals and San Jose Sharks – two teams who are choke joke staples – didn’t just win their series, they showed serious guts in the process.
Nothing could be more symbolic than Joe Thornton (perhaps the most scrutinized player in the NHL) scoring the overtime game-winner that sent the Sharks to the second round.
San Jose 4, Los Angeles 3 (OT); Sharks win series 4-2
While the Sharks frequently dominated the play from a scoring chances standpoint in this series, the Kings deserve a lot of credit for making it a tough grind for San Jose. This series went to overtime three different times (all wins by San Jose), including the Sharks’ historic comeback. In other words, this series was much closer than I predicted.
Before we get into the impact for both squads, let’s take a look at the game itself.
The first and second periods:
Jonathan Quick was brilliant in the first period, keeping the score 0-0 despite the fact that the Sharks out-shot the Kings 16-5.
Kyle Wellwood defied all the Internet’s fat jokes by putting in a rebound to make it 1-0 for the Sharks early in the second period. Justin Williams was able to tie the game up on the back end of a double-minor power play that probably shouldn’t have happened because it wasn’t Joe Thornton’s stick that ended up knocking out Brad Richardson’s teeth. (Yes, you read that last bit correctly.)
Jason Demers scored his second goal of the playoffs by roofing it past Quick to give the Sharks a 2-1 lead heading into the final frame.
The third period and overtime:
The Kings just wouldn’t die in this game, which makes it a microcosm of their hearty work in the series. Ryan Smyth scored a rebound goal just 18 seconds into the third thanks to a nice setup by Jarret Stoll.
Dany Heatley hasn’t exactly been a major factor in this series, but he did give the Sharks a 3-2 lead thanks to a wicked wrist shot. Los Angeles didn’t roll over after that one, either, as Trevor Lewis scored his first career playoff goal to make it 3-3.
The remaining moments were dominated by a couple boneheaded penalties. The first one involved a Drew Doughty high-stick/cross-check to the face of Devin Setoguchi, a hit that might draw some league attention.
The outcome of this game lessened the impact of the second call, but it was still a huge moment when referees handed Jamie McGinn a five minute major penalty and game misconduct for charging. There’s little doubt that it was a charge, but many hockey fans wondered if it was an extreme call considering the fact that it was made late in a big game. The Sharks were able to kill that penalty, with 3:23 of the shorthanded time in regulation and 1:37 in overtime.
Ultimately, the Sharks killed the penalty and Thornton put home that series-winning rebound goal 2:22 into overtime and then delighted the hockey world with his victory slide.
What it means for San Jose, Los Angeles
The Sharks continue to look like a “different” team, a point underscored by their comeback win and three away wins in the series. They should feel great about their offense, with Antti Niemi and their occasional lapses in discipline being their biggest concerns.
The Kings still haven’t won a playoff series since 2001, but it’s still safe to describe them as up-and-comers. The team is strong on defense, promising in net and just an asset or two away from being dangerous on offense. This loss will hurt for some time, but they have something to build on after giving a great team a run for their money.
May 4, 2015, 11:19 PM EDT
Washington needs its bottom-six forwards to keep contributing in order to go deep into the playoffs.
May 4, 2015, 10:28 PM EDT
It was his first shutout of the 2015 playoffs.
May 4, 2015, 9:40 PM EDT
It’s part of the leadup to the Detroit vs. Colorado outdoor game.
May 4, 2015, 9:04 PM EDT
Andre Burakovsky got his first career playoff point.
May 4, 2015, 8:23 PM EDT
“Without that, goaltending and team defense can only take you so far.”
May 4, 2015, 7:25 PM EDT
All three have won the Stanley Cup.
May 4, 2015, 6:56 PM EDT
Her husband faces domestic violence charges.
May 4, 2015, 6:12 PM EDT
The series is tied at 1-1.
May 4, 2015, 5:42 PM EDT
And they’ll gladly keep taking man advantage opportunities, too.
May 4, 2015, 4:24 PM EDT
“Coming out of junior, we had such high hopes for him.”
May 4, 2015, 4:09 PM EDT
Big news from the Devils.
May 4, 2015, 3:31 PM EDT
And Glen Sather isn’t sure he’ll ever permit it, either.
May 4, 2015, 3:10 PM EDT
“I have to get to the inside; that’s the biggest thing.”
May 4, 2015, 2:28 PM EDT
The Ducks have been deadly on the power play, unlike during the regular season.
May 4, 2015, 1:52 PM EDT
Youth-laden squad continues to impress.
May 4, 2015, 1:12 PM EDT
“If it means allowing players to go to free agency, if it means making players sweat it out on what their deal’s going to be, he’s the priority for us.”
May 4, 2015, 1:07 PM EDT
Virtanen was the sixth overall pick in the 2014 draft.
May 4, 2015, 12:49 PM EDT
Jets’ AHL team will play at the MTS Centre next season.
May 4, 2015, 12:34 PM EDT
He’s hoping to “find a way to get a bigger role.”
May 4, 2015, 11:37 AM EDT
“Prust has engaged himself in something that’s going to take him into an area where he doesn’t want to be part of.”
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