Previewing the Los Angeles Kings' 2013-14 West Quarter-Final:
Game 7 @ San Jose
April 30, 2014
7pm PST (10pm EST)
Series tied 3-3
A week ago, the San Jose Sharks were up 3-0 in this series with all the control. They outshot and outhit the Kings and even looked to expose the team's defense and goaltending as less than what they were billed. But like baseball legend Yogi Berra famously said, "It ain't it over till it's over," and until they lost that fourth game, the Los Angeles Kings were still very much alive as they won the next three games to set up a seventh and deciding game at San Jose's SAP Center on Wednesday night.
From Game 4 on, the Kings began to take control, outshooting and outhitting the Sharks as a team and coming through individually as well. In the last three games, Anze Kopitar has turned it on with three goals and five assists while Justin Williams had two-goal outings in Game 4 and again in Game 6. In fact, when facing elimination, Williams has 10 goals and seven assists in 13 games - seven of those goals coming in a Los Angeles uniform. If the Kings hope to take this series, having the 31-year-old deliver will be a significant bonus.
Through the first five of this series, Los Angeles netminder Jonathan Quick has gotten better with each passing game as his save percentage rose after each outing. While his .962 percentage n Game 6 wasn't as good as his 1.000 in Game 5, Quick was nonetheless solid, stopping 26 of 27 shots to help force this decisive game.
While they have lost three-straight games, the San Jose Sharks have been in this position before. In 2011, they surrendered a 3-0 series lead to Detroit in the West Semi-Final, but prevailed in the end, winning Game 7. They hope for the same fate this time. Of course, the Kings will definitely have something to say about that.
As for who will be in net for the Sharks, it is a toss-up at this point. Alex Stalock played in Game 6 after relieving Antti Niemi in the previous two games. But despite playing very well, there is a chance that San Jose will return to Niemi on Wednesday.
There has never been any love lost between these two fierce rivals and you can be sure that the bad blood will spill over in Game 7. Of course, which team will prevail on the scoreboard is the most important thing as we will see who will outlast who.
Can the Sharks avoid disaster and repeat events from 2011? Or will the Kings make history by making their historic comeback complete? We'll just have to wait and see.
Enjoy the game!