Previewing the Los Angeles Kings' 2013-14 West Quarter-Final:
Game 6 vs. San Jose
April 28, 2014
7pm PST (10pm EST)
SJ leads series 3-2
They went into enemy territory where they had been badly outplayed just a week earlier and showed their fans exactly what they had been missing thus far in these playoffs. The Los Angeles Kings invaded San Jose's SAP Center on Saturday night and left with a dominant 3-0 win over the Sharks to cheat death once again and extend this series to a sixth game.
Now, the Los Angeles Kings are back at home as they hope to tie the series on Monday night against a Sharks team that is suddenly feeling the pressure to close out this series, something they failed to do in their last two outings. The frustration definitely showed on the San Jose side following Game 5. While Joe Thornton was calm and objective, Dan Boyle was snappy and defensive with a reporter simply for asking him a reasonable question. The Sharks also lost defenseman Marc-Eduard Vlasic after a collision with Los Angeles's Jarret Stoll. But head coach Todd MacLellan was in no mood to discuss his defenseman's injury on Saturday.
Whether this is a sign of San Jose's decline remains to be seen but while they do have the momentum now, it is imperative for the Kings to stay the course, keep their eye on the prize and not get ahead of themselves.
Having said that, the Kings do enter Game 6 with a lot to feel good about.
After being quiet for the first three games of the series, captain Dustin Brown has registered three points in his last two outings while Marian Gaborik, who also got off to an inauspicious start to this series, is now riding a three-game point streak. Of course, quintessentially, one cannot discuss the success of the Los Angeles Kings without mentioning the name of Jonathan Quick, who stopped all 30 shots he faced in Game 5 to record his eighth-career playoff shutout. His performance on Saturday was a far cry from his showings in Games 1 and 2 in San Jose over a week ago. The Kings are counting on No. 32 to be just as strong in Game 6. Then again, they expect the same from the entire team - much like they witnessed on Saturday.
Unlike in Games 4 and 5, however, the Kings will most likely start Game 6 against netminder Alex Stalock.
The native of St. Paul, Minnesota, came on in relief of Antti Niemi in each of the last two games and has yet to allow a goal against the Kings so far. In fact, in his only regular-season contest against Los Angeles this season, Stalock allowed just one goal, albeit in a losing effort.
The Kings have won the last two games of this series but it's the Sharks who still have the overall lead, needing just one game to advance to the next round.
The silver-and-black enter Monday determined to cheat death once again and send this series back to Silicon Valley for a seventh and deciding game.
Can they do it? We'll just have to see.
Enjoy the game!