Abilene
80° F
Clear
Clear
Brownwood
81° F
Mostly Cloudy
Mostly Cloudy
San Angelo
82° F
Clear
Clear
Advertisement

Kings cap series comeback to oust Sharks

By By The Sports Xchange
Published On: May 01 2014 12:13:23 AM CDT
Updated On: May 01 2014 01:30:43 AM CDT
Hockey puck

iStock

SAN JOSE, Calif. -

Just call them the Kings of the comeback.

With a 5-1 win over the San Jose Sharks on Wednesday at SAP Center, Los Angeles became just the fourth team in NHL history to win a playoff series after dropping the first three games.

"We're excited about just advancing because at the end of the day that's what it was about," Kings right wing Dustin Brown said. "It wasn't about making history."

The Sharks, with a long history of playoff disappointment, added a new chapter that probably ranks as the franchise's low point.

"It's definitely the low point since I've been here," said coach Todd McLellan, who has been behind the Sharks' bench for six seasons.

"Obviously we don't want to hear that kind of stuff, but what can we say?" Sharks defenseman Brad Stuart said. "We're on the wrong side of history tonight, so it's hard to argue."

A stifling penalty kill combined with timely goals to end the second period and start the third enabled the Kings to cap off their fourth straight win in the Western Conference quarterfinal series.

Meanwhile, San Jose saw a second straight season end at the hands of the Kings during a seven-game series.

"We're kidding ourselves if we think we were closer this year just because it went seven games," McLellan said. "It was 16-5 in the last four games. We had a core group of individuals who didn't get on the score sheet. Last year was a lot closer than it was this year."

The Kings, who joined the 1942 Maple Leafs, the 1975 Islanders and 2010 Flyers with the ultimate comebacks, advance to meet the Ducks in an all-Southern California second-round matchup that will start Saturday in Anaheim.

"I hope I don't have to do it again," Kings coach Darryl Sutter said, referring to winning four straight after falling behind 3-0. "It is tough to do."

"We let the city down. We let the fans down," Stuart said of the Sharks. "It's not a good feeling."

Los Angeles forward Tyler Toffoli scored 4:40 into the third period to give the visitors a two-goal lead before Dustin Brown and Tanner Pearson added empty-net goals late.

San Jose finished the series with 15 straight failed power plays as it went 0-for-6 in Game 7.

"Special teams went in their favor the last few games, and that was the difference," Stuart said. "They held us down on the power play, and we allowed too many goals on their power play. We just couldn't create enough offense to make up for that."

The Sharks had a golden opportunity in the second period with 7:43 of power-play time, and they managed 12 shots during four man-advantage chances. But they came up empty during a 1-1 game, and the Kings capitalized.

Los Angeles center Anze Kopitar was all alone in the slot to roof a centering feed from right winger Justin Williams over Sharks goalie Antti Niemi at 18:39 for the tiebreaking goal. San Jose defensemen Justin Braun and Stuart followed Kings' skaters behind the goal line, and rookie Matt Nieto was a step behind Kopitar on the play.

"Tonight we weren't that bad until we gave up an outnumbered rush. And that's it; game over," McLellan said.

San Jose defenseman Matt Irwin gave the hosts a 1-0 lead 28 seconds into the period when his wrist shot from the top of the right circle beat Los Angeles goalie Jonathan Quick. But the Kings tied it on defenseman Drew Doughty's power-play goal at 4:57.

"They fixed their problems; we didn't," McLellan said. "Our problems got progressively worse as we went along. We were awful off the rush, and awful around our net. Every day we came to the rink we tried to stress that -- and we were never able to fix it."

The Kings, meanwhile, simply found a way.

"I think it shows what type of team we have in here," Brown said.

NOTES: The Sharks were without top D Marc-Edouard Vlasic for a second straight game. Vlasic has not skated since getting knocked out late in the first period of Game 5 after sustaining an apparent head injury, courtesy of a Jarret Stoll hit that earned a roughing minor. ... The Sharks were 5-3 all-time in Game 7 and 2-0 at home. The Kings were 4-4, with their last Game 7 win on the road coming in 1993 at Toronto. ... Sharks healthy scratches included RW Marty Havlat, LW Bracken Kearns, RW Tyler Kennedy and D Matt Tennyson. RW Adam Burish (fingers) remained out. For the Kings, RW Jordan Nolan and recent call-up D Jeff Schultz were healthy scratches, while D Willie Mitchell was out with a leg injury. D Matt Greene appeared for the first time since Game 2 when he was a minus-4.