San Jose Sharks Season Ends After Falling 2-1 In Game 7


May 28, 2013; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Kings players celebrate after game seven of the second round of the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs against the San Jose Sharks at the Staples Center. The Kings won 2-1 to win the series four games to three. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

Well, that’s it.  The season is over.  The San Jose Sharks have fallen to the Los Angeles Kings by the final of 2-1 in game seven at the Staples Center, and now we have to wait until the fall to see teal on the ice again.

It was a series that saw the home team win every game, magnifying that last game of the season when the Sharks played the Kings and had a chance to get that fourth spot in conference, which would have lead to home-ice advantage this round.

Also, the team that scored first won every game of the series.  You knew once the Kings scored first, and in their own building, it would be a tough, uphill fight.  It sure was.

San Jose put up a good fight, and had plenty of great scoring chances, but ultimately Jonathan Quick was just too good.  He and Antti Niemi had yet another duel, going back and forth making save after save, but in the end Quick got the better of the San Jose netminder.

His best save of the night was off of Joe Pavelski who had all kinds of room to put the puck in the net. Quick made a last ditch sprawl across his crease and made the save on a shot by Pavelski that never left the ice.  Had he gotten it up just a bit it would no doubt have gone in.

Even Couture had a few chances in front, one which deflected through Quick’s legs but slid just past the post.

That’s what happens in a game of inches.

A game of inches where Niemi, even while hugging the post, could not stop a Justin Williams shot from behind the goal-line.  Then a few minutes later another shot by Williams that scooted between his legs.  Moments later he robs Williams of the hat trick (video below) while the Sharks were on the penalty kill.

Even after that Niemi faced countless odd-man rushes, including two breakaways, which were given up by a team playing overly-aggressive to try and come back.  He played valiantly, and once again showed his Vezina worthiness, but the guy on the other side of the ice was just that much better. One of those saves, made against sniper Jeff Carter, is shown here.

For a majority of the night the Sharks seemed in control.  They had lots of offensive zone time and their forecheck was good, but they gave up too many scoring chanes.  Los Angeles also looked great on the forecheck and caused all kinds of problems for the Sharks when trying to break out.  The result was 33 total giveaways combined by both teams.

San Jose’s lone goal was scored by Dan Boyle early in the third period.  He fired a shot from the blue-line with lots of bodies in front and was able to get the puck by Quick.  He is one of those guys who you noticed left everything he had out on the ice tonight, and even in the loss you cannot be mad at how he played.

The guy for the Kings who did all the damage, Justin Williams, played a great game and was very close to a natural hat trick if not for Antti Niemi.  He was all over the ice tonight and seemed to be in the right place at the right time all game.

This was no doubt a great series, one that was hard-fought all seven games and was one that hockey fans every, not just in California, enjoyed.  This is what playoff hockey is about, and the reason they call the hardest championship to win.  That means the Kings deserve plenty of credit for getting as far has they have this season in defense of the cup they won last year.