Hahn: Sharks have gotten through pressure of a must-win game
Scott Gomez will play in his 10th career Game 7 on Tuesday night, the most among players on either team. (AP)
SAN JOSE -- The home team has won every game of the Sharks-Kings second round Stanley Cup playoff series so far, with Game 7 set for Tuesday night at Staples Center (6 p.m., NBCSN).
The Sharks will be trying to buck that trend as the road team, but may have something to lean on to counter that home success – experience.
Among the players expected to play on Tuesday (assuming Marty Havlat, Jason Demers and Jarret Stoll all remain scratched), the Sharks have a combined 31 games played in a Game 7. The Kings have just 15.
Scott Gomez will play in his 10th career Game 7, the most among players on either team. Brad Stuart will play in his seventh, while Dan Boyle, Patrick Marleau and Joe Thornton will play in their fourth. Marleau, Pavelski, Stuart, Thornton and Logan Couture have all scored a goal in a Game 7, while Gomez has four assists in nine games.
For the Kings, Robyn Regehr will play in his fifth Game 7, while Mike Richards and Justin Williams are set to play their fourth each. Williams has had more success than any player on either team on the scoresheet, with three goals and four assists in his previous three Game 7 appearances, while Richards has three assists in three games, all with Philadelphia.
In their run to the Stanley Cup last season, none of the Kings’ series went the distance as Los Angeles went 16-4 in the postseason. Jonathan Quick has never played in a Game 7, while counterpart Antti Niemi has played in one – a 3-2 win over Detroit in the second round in 2011. Niemi allowed two goals on 40 shots in that game.
Behind the bench, Darryl Sutter (3-3) will coach in his seventh Game 7, including two he was the head coach for with San Jose. It will be McLellan’s second (1-0).
The Sharks are 5-2 in franchise history in Game 7, including the aforementioned 3-2 win over Detroit in their most recent game in 2011. The Kings are 3-4, and this will be their first Game 7 since 2002.