Things will be a little uneasy in San Jose for the next couple of days as the team with a history of chronic underachieving will have to win a game 7, that almost nobody expected them to have to play, in order to move on to the second round.
The Los Angeles Kings won their third straight game to even the series and force a deciding game on the strength of 3 goals in a span of less than 3 minutes in the third period to break open a 1-1 deadlock.
The winning goal came in somewhat controversial circumstances as the puck appeared to be frozen by Sharks goalie Alex Stalock, but Justin Williams seemed to push Stalock and jar the puck free and into the net. The Sharks seemed to unravel after that play and couldn’t get back into focus before Anze Kopitar had scored twice more for LA to break open the game.
Following the goal that made it 4-1, things blew up physically once again in this series as Logan Couture dropped the gloves with Mike Richards, and then a few minutes later goalie Jonathan Quick got involved in a scuffle with Joe Thornton. IN all there were 74 minutes in penalties handed out in the final 5:13 of the game.
Williams had scored in the first period to give the Kings the lead, that was matched by James Sheppard‘s tip in in the second period that had the teams even through 40 minutes.
Stalock was a bit of a surprise starter, getting his first career post-season start after relieving Antti Niemi in each of the last 2 games. There will be a lot of discussion about who will start game 7, but expect Niemi to be back in the net after Stalock didn’t get the job done in his big chance.
There is no doubt that it will be Quick in the net for the Kings, after stopping 25 of 26 Sharks shots.
Game 7 goes Wednesday night in San Jose, and the pressure will be on the home side, big time.