The decision did not hinge on whether he played Stephen Curry enough as much as it did on internal divisions. In short, Smart could not have saved himself.
The Sharks, despite advancing, were far from inspirational in victory. To go further than they've ever gone before, they will need to play a much better brand of hockey moving forward.
The Sharks did not end up looking very pretty statistically in this series, going 2 for 23 on the power play for a miserable 8.6 percent conversion rate, and only 19 for 24 on the penalty kill, a dreadful 79.1 percent.
The Sharks claimed Game 6 on "Jumbo" Joe Thornton's game-winner, but not before wringing every bit of tension from the first-round affair. Now the battle gets exponentially harder. Ray Ratto goes inside the game.
In a series they are expected to win, the Sharks are becoming a tad squeamish as the Kings continue to hang on. Nobody understands that pressure more than San Jose's struggling goalie Antti Niemi.
The Kings scored three first-period goals, forcing Todd McLellan to pull Antti Niemi early, while the Kings' Jonathan Quick made 51 saves to force Game 6. Ray Ratto breaks down a blown chance in San Jose.
The decision to load the fourth line with Stoll and Penner, whose disappointing series has matched his disappointing season in L.A., seems to be an attempt to get enough balance to force San Jose coach Todd McLellan to use his mostly ethereal fourth line more.
Sharks defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic will play his second game ever without his best and most persistent coach, his grandfather Ivan Vlasic, who died Wednesday after a prolonged illness.
The Sharks are up 3-1 in their series with the Kings. It's a point where, in the past, the team might have folded. Don't expect that to happen this year.
Senior Insider Ray Ratto presents the cold hard facts from the Sharks' Game 4 win over the Kings.
Game 4 didnt resemble anything like the three before it. But a six-goal Sharks outburst has San Jose up 3-1 in the series and heading home, on the verge of the unthinkable -- normalcy.
It's simple, really. Having surrendered eight goals in 80 minutes, Antti Niemi must prevent the most disturbing part of his recent play in L.A. tonight giving up goals in great unsightly blobs.
Just when you've figured out this back-and-forth Kings-Sharks series between, you're wrong. Our Senior Insider explains why even the players are looking forward to seeing which way the puck bounces in Game 4.
The Sharks had no business winning Game 3. But some how, some way they pulled it off. Ray Ratto examines what will go down as one of the wildest playoff games in NHL history.
Having lost control, the Sharks are now on the clock to show they can reassemble the plan and re-establish control of this series.