Sharks dispatch in Kings playoffs, advance to second round

Erik Khan,
Staff Writer

The San Jose Sharks were finally able to finish a playoff series against the Los Angeles Kings this past Friday, exercising demons from their past that can finally be put to rest.

After defeating the Kings, it appears as if the Sharks may finally be poised to bring home the first Stanley Cup in the team’s history.

While it is just a single playoff series win, beating the Kings has a more significant meaning: The Kings are the team that the Sharks dream about being. They’ve brought two Stanley Cups back to Los Angeles since 2012.

The Kings have played it cool in the playoffs for the past five years, and the Sharks have been the exact opposite.

While the Sharks made the playoffs two out of three years, both of those seasons ended with a 4-3 series loss to the Kings.

Losing in the playoffs is always a heartbreaker, but the fashion that the Sharks lost to the Kings two years ago takes the cake: The Sharks led the series 3-0 before they collapsed losing four straight games to the eventual Stanley Cup champions. This was only the fourth time in NHL history that a team lost a series after leading it 3-0.

However this year, things were different. In game one of the series versus the Kings in Los Angeles, the Sharks came out and played with a vengeance, securing a 4-3 victory thanks to Joe Pavelski. The team captain scored two goals, with his second being the game-winner in the third period.

In game two, the Sharks and Pavelski brought it again, winning the game 2-1. Pavelski scored the first goal in a physical game that featured many huge hits. Forward Logan Couture netted a goal in the second frame to put the Sharks up by 2 and they never looked back.

The only loss for San Jose came in game three and it was a tight one. In a close game, the Sharks fell 2-1 in overtime after Kings’ forward Tanner Pearson tossed one past Martin Jones, just 3:47 into the extra period. The Sharks’ lone goal came less than thirty seconds into the game and they just couldn’t get anything going.

After they had lost the game, many thought that this would be the turning point in the series. However, the Sharks responded in game four. They held a 3-0 lead in the third period and made it clear that they were the better team.

Up 3-1, everyone thought the Sharks would struggle to close out the Kings, but this proved to be false. In game 5, the Sharks again held a 3-goal lead. However, they surrendered 3 straight Kings goals. Tied 3-3 in the third period, Joonas Donskoi put San Jose ahead for good with an absolute ripper past Kings’ goalie Jonathan Quick. Pavelski scored his fifth goal in as many games and Melker Karlsson put the icing on the cake to give the Sharks a 6-3 victory.

This series’ win was huge and showed that the Sharks have the resolve and resilience that they have lacked in years past.

Putting away the Kings will serve to ramp up the team’s confidence as they continue their playoff run.

They will face the winner of the Anaheim Ducks and Nashville Predators series, which is currently tied 3-3. The Ducks beat the Sharks three out of four times during the regular season, while the Predators beat them two out of three ties.

Those losses might scare the common Sharks fan, but true San Jose fans know that the regular season means little when it comes to predicting the outcome of a series.

The Sharks have long been known to fall to teams in the postseason that they were able to handle with ease during the 82 game regular season. The playoffs are just a different beast.

While the road to the cup is still extremely long, this San Jose team has what it takes to get the job done. The depth that surrounds their talent like Pavelski and Couture will prove too much to handle for opponents.

Pair the offense with the play of Goalie Martin Jones, which has been stellar, and the Sharks are one of the most dangerous teams in the league.