Instant Replay: Sharks' collapse complete with Game 7 loss

Instant Replay: Sharks' collapse complete with Game 7 loss
April 30, 2014, 8:45 pm
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Mike Brown, Raffi Torres and Brent Burns react late in the Sharks' Game 7 loss to the Kings. (USATSI)


SAN JOSE – Outside, it was the hottest day of the year in San Jose. Inside SAP Center, it was perhaps the coldest night in franchise history.

The Sharks lost 5-1 to the Los Angeles Kings on Wednesday, becoming just the fourth team in NHL history to lose a best-of-seven series after winning the first three games.

The Kings will play the Anaheim Ducks in the second round.

A late second period goal by Anze Kopitar gave the Kings their first lead of the night, and one that would not be relinquished.

On an odd-man rush, Brad Stuart was unable to prevent a pass from Justin Williams to an open Kopitar in the slot, and the Kings’ top scorer made a move to his backhand before flipping in his fourth goal with just 1:21 left before intermission.

Kopitar recorded at least one point in each of the seven games.

Tyler Toffoli extended the lead to 3-1 at 4:40 of the third period. The play began with Tanner Pearson driving hard up the wall and slamming on the breaks with Justin Braun defending. Toffoli got open on Stuart and went high glove over Antti Niemi for his third goal of the series.

Dustin Brown and Pearson, respectively, scored empty net goals to cap the scoring.

The Sharks fell to 5-4 all-time in a deciding seventh game, and 2-1 at home.

The Sharks got the lead they were desperately looking for with a second period goal by Matt Irwin, shortly off the opening draw. Playing in just his second game of the series, the defenseman directed a shot from high in the zone past Jonathan Quick, who looked to be screened by James Sheppard just 28 seconds into the middle frame.

Los Angeles tied it on a power play at 4:57 with Logan Couture off for elbowing Jake Muzzin. Drew Doughty went high past Niemi after a scrum in front of the Sharks’ net, his first of the series, tying it up.

Prior to Kopitar’s go-ahead goal, the Sharks failed to convert on three minor penalties to the Kings. Their best chance came when Patrick Marleau found a Joe Pavelski rebound just off to the side of the net, but the Jonathan Quick got his glove in the way just in time to deny the Sharks’ all-time leading scorer midway through regulation and with the game still tied 1-1. A brief video review confirmed the puck never crossed the goal line.

San Jose was 0-for-6 on the power play, including a late third period chance when they trailed, 3-1.

The Kings joined the 1942 Maple Leafs, 1975 Islanders and 2010 Flyers as the only teams to come back from a 0-3 series hole.

Special teams
The Sharks were 0-for-15 on the power play over the final three games of the series after failing on all six attempts in Game 7.

Los Angeles was 1-for-3, and 6-for-20 since Game 3.

In goal
Niemi returned to the net after Alex Stalock played all of Game 6, allowing three goals on 28 shots. He had been chased by Los Angeles in games four and five.

Niemi fell to 1-2 in his career in a Game 7, all with San Jose, including last season’s second round defeat to the Kings.

Quick allowed just two goals total over the final three games, after surrendering 19 in the first four. He made 39 saves on 40 shots.

For the sixth time in seven games, Marty Havlat was a healthy scratch. Mike Brown retuned to the fourth line after Havlat entered for Game 6.

Up next
The offseason.