Instant Replay: Sharks' season ends with Game 7 loss in L.A.

Instant Replay: Sharks' season ends with Game 7 loss in L.A.
May 28, 2013, 8:00 pm
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The Sharks fell to 5-3 all-time in a Game 7, while Los Angeles improved to 4-4. (USA TODAY IMAGES)

BOX SCORE

LOS ANGELES – The heroes in Game 7 of the Sharks-Kings second round Stanley Cup playoff series were all too predictable.

Los Angeles’ Justin Williams scored twice and Jonathan Quick made 25 saves in ending the Sharks’ season at Staples Center on Tuesday night, 2-1.

Williams scored for the fourth time in four career Game 7 appearances, and has nine points total in a series-decider (5g, 4a). Quick, the Kings’ best player in their run to the Stanley Cup last season, allowed only Dan Boyle’s slap shot through traffic in the third period.

A pair of trends held true, as the home team won every game in the series, as did the team that scored first.

Williams’ first goal came on the power play. Brent Burns was called for interference in the Sharks’ offensive zone when he plowed over Robyn Regehr at 2:46. Slava Voynov’s shot on the ensuing advantage went wide, and Williams managed to poke it through an outstretched Antti Niemi at 4:11.

A pretty passing play made it 2-0. Voynov dropped a pass to Anze Kopitar on a Kings rush, and Kopitar quickly found Williams in the circle for a one-timer at 7:08.

Williams nearly completed the natural hat trick a few minutes later, but Niemi robbed him with a right pad in what may have been his best save of the series.

At the other end, Quick did his part in keeping the Sharks off of the board. About a minute into the second period, the goaltender robbed Couture from the slot on a backhander. The 2012 Conn Smythe winner stopped Couture again on a deflection attempt shortly before Williams’ second goal.

His best and most important save, though, came with 5:04 left in the third period. A Marc-Edouard Vlasic blast got through to the goaltender after the Sharks won an offensive zone draw, but Quick sprawled out with his glove hand to stop Joe Pavelski on a rebound to preserve the Kings’ 2-1 lead.

The Sharks’ only goal came when Boyle’s shot from inside the blue line had eyes, beating Quick through traffic at 5:26 of the third period.

The Sharks fell to 5-3 all-time in a Game 7, while Los Angeles improved to 4-4. The Kings await the winner of the Blackhawks-Red Wings series, which concludes with a Game 7 of its own on Wednesday night.

The Sharks and Kings combined for just eight shots in a tight-checking first period. Los Angeles had the first prime chance when a Dustin Brown shot hit Niemi and popped into the air at 5:17. Trevor Lewis and Dwight King both looked for the rebound, which eventually slid out to Voynov, whose shot was blocked.

San Jose’s best chance in the opening frame came without a minute left. Bracken Kearns forced a turnover in the corner and sent a pass to the slot, but the puck bounced over an open Adam Burish’s stick.

Four of the seven games ended with a 2-1 final score, including all three at HP Pavilion.

Special teams
The Sharks failed to get a single power play goal in Los Angeles in the four games. They were 0-for-2 on the night, but had just one minute and 38 seconds of power play time. San Jose finished 4-for-26 in the series.

The Kings were 1-for-3, and 5-for-20 in the series.

In goal
Niemi finished the postseason with a 7-4 record. He allowed two goals or less in nine of the 11 games.

Quick improved to 8-5, and has allowed two or less in 11 of 13.

Lineup
Scott Gomez played in his 10th career Game 7, the most of any player on either team.

The Sharks iced their same lineup that played in Game 6, as Jason Demers (healthy) and Marty Havlat (lower body injury) did not play. Raffi Torres’ suspension for hitting Jarret Stoll in Game 1 lasted six games.

The Kings reinserted rookie Tyler Toffoli back into the lineup for Jordan Nolan.

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The offseason.