Sharks vs. Kings NHL Playoffs: San Jose Wins In Six, Advances To Face Detroit Red Wings

The San Jose Sharks beat the Los Angeles Kings four games to two in the quarterfinal series of the 2011 NHL Playoffs. San Jose finished them off in game six at the Staples Center with a thrilling 4-3 overtime victory. For more on the series and the team in general, go to Fear The Fin.

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San Jose Sharks vs. Detroit Red Wings In Second Round Of NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs

For those unfamiliar with NHL Playoffs seeding, it's not bracketed like the NBA or March Madness. After every round, the NHL reseeds its teams based on their records, so that the team remaining with the best record plays the team with the worst record. (Of course this only means something in the second round, but whatever.)

The San Jose Sharks had to wait awhile after winning their first round matchup with the Los Angeles Kings, but after a dramatic Game 7 victory by the Vancouver Canucks over the Chicago Blackhawks, they know that their opponent will be the Detroit Red Wings. It will be a rematch of last year's faceoff in the Western Conference Semifinals, where the Sharks won the series in 5.  Can San Jose accomplish a rare feat and dispatch hockey's most storied franchise for the second year in a row?

For more on the Sharks, check out Fear the Fin. For Red Wings coverage, head over to Winging It In Motown.

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Sharks vs. Kings NHL Playoffs Scores: Joe Thornton With The Overtime Winner, Sharks Win Series

With 3:23 remaining in the final frame and the game tied at 3-3, the Jamie McGinn went to the penalty box for a five-minute major of the charging variety. It was a questionable call, but the San Jose Sharks didn't let it get to them - they'd already prevailed twice against the Los Angeles Kings in overtime and were willing to gain some momentum by killing the penalty. They stopped it through the remainder of the third period, and then came out in the overtime frame full of energy and aggressiveness. The Kings had a couple of good chances on the power play, but Antti Niemi was solid and the Sharks got the kill. Cue Devin Setoguchi putting the puck on net, Patrick Marleau getting a small piece of it and Joe Thornton grabbing the rebound to beat Jonathan Quick as cleanly as we've seen this series, giving the Sharks a 4-3 win in game six, and a 4-2 series win in the quarterfinals.

The Sharks played some great hockey early on, dominating play in the first period, but they failed to get any points in the opening frame. They out-shoot the Kings 16-5 in that period, in which Los Angeles had a nine minute stretch without a shot on goal. Period two began with a Sharks power play, but Jonathan Quick makes some great saves and nothing comes of it, the Kings kill the penalty. Kyle Wellwood has an excellent chance early on with a virtually empty net, but misses wide with the backhand, drawing the ire of fans and commentary teams alike. He makes up for it though, circling around the net, recovering the puck and putting it to Thornton, who dishes it back to Wellwood, who beats Quick high and away for the first goal of the night. He also went out and made a great defensive play on the very next shift, skewing the trajectory of a Kings' pass and forcing them offsides.

Joe Thornton was then called for a four-minute high sticking penalty, and Justin Williams was able to score in the third minute of the power play to tie the game at one-all. Thornton made a very bone-headed play shortly after returning from the penalty box (good thing he notched the game-winner), Quick lost his stick and Thornton was on that side with the puck and an opportunity to shoot, but he neglected to do so. Jason Demers struck to put the Sharks up 2-1 though, when Joe Pavelski made a great play to circle around the back of the LA net and take it almost to the neutral zone, before hitting Demers on the weakside, who puts it past Quick up and away.

The third period was demoralizing for the Sharks, as the Kings came in and scored just eighteen seconds in, Ryan Smyth with a pass and drives the net, catching the rebound to put it past Niemi. San Jose began to look a little tired and slow out there, but a Dany Heatley solo goal from between the circles just inside the far post put the Sharks back up and gave them some more energy. The Kings get another power play though, when Demers was called on an interference penalty, and that goes to Trevor Lewis. This all lead to overtime, and you know the rest.

Antti Niemi finished with 26 saves, while Jonathan Quick made 31 of his own. The Sharks out-shot the Kings 35-29 and won the faceoff battle 37-28. 

Thornton's earlier hesitance to shoot the puck when Quick was without a stick highlights a big problem tonight: the Sharks had three power players, went 0-3 on them, and only had three total shots in said power plays. That's altogether, and Thornton was not the only culprit. The only player who didn't seem gunshy was Heatley, even Marleau circled around, had a lane, and ended up passing back instead of firing, which begs the question of whether or not Quick got into their heads with a 51-save performance in game five. 

Either way, the Sharks have a lot to look at going into round two, and we'll touch on that with a full series recap tomorrow and a new stream for round two. Stay tuned for more, folks. Don't forget to head over to Fear The Fin to celebrate. 

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Sharks vs. Kings NHL Playoffs Recap: Jonathan Quick Steals One From San Jose

It was a tale of two goalies in game five of the quarterfinal matchup in the 2011 NHL Playoffs between the San Jose Sharks and the Los Angeles Kings. Maybe it should be a tale of three goalies, with two of them playing well and one of them ... not so well. Antti Niemi was pulled in the first period after giving up three goals on only four shots, and Antero Niittymaki came in. Jonathan Quick was nothing short of amazing for the Kings, and he was the catalyst for maintaining the Kings three-goal lead and getting the win.

Niemi gave up the first goal after making a mistake while playing the puck behind the net, he gave it away to Brad Richardson along the boards and Kyle Clifford was more than happy to take his rebound and sink it in the net. The second goal came off a bad, bad turnover by Dan Boyle in the neutral zone, and it set up a two-on-one, where Brad Richardson shoots and Clifford, along with Wayne Simmonds, put it in the goal without much issue. Following that, Ian White gave the puck away to Dustin Pener, who put it past Niemi for the third goal. At that point, he was pulled.

Niittymaki came in at that point, and he looked great. He made one of the best saves of his career in the third period, but he didn't have the support from his team to get a win. Patrick Marleau got the lone goal for the Sharks, with the help of Joe Thornton and Niclas Wallin. It was a good goal, but looking at the final statline, you'd think it was a fluke. Niittymaki stopped all eighteen shots that came his way, and deserves props and potentially a starting nod in game six.

But back to Quick, he was amazing in this game. Looking at the final score, you might think the Sharks got dominated in all phases of the game, but it wasn't so. They dominated play in the second and third periods, but could not crack the code that was Jonathan Quick. Ryane Clowe was robbed on a fantastic shot, Logan Couture was preempted and had his solo attack stopped. There was nothing they could do. Quick stopped 51 of 52 shots with a .981 save percentage.

It's not that the Sharks would have won if Quick wasn't so on his game, but they outshot the Kings (who were actually fairly aggressive) 52 shots to 22. It's hard to tell how the Sharks should feel after this game, but it's definitely one that you could label as "stolen" by the opposing goalie. They hit well, they shot well, they controlled the puck well and they didn't get the win in the end.

The biggest decision now will be who will start in net for the Sharks, Niemi or Niittymaki. The Sharks will have two days to figure that out, as play resumes for game six in Los Angeles on Monday. 

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Sharks vs. Kings NHL Playoff Scores: Antti Niemi Makes 35 Saves In 6-3 San Jose Win

The San Jose Sharks, came out and played their game early, feeling out the Los Angeles Kings in the first period. Both teams were very evenly matched at that point, but perhaps emboldened by their comeback in game three (recovering from a four-goal deficit to score five goals in the second period and win the game in overtime via a Devin Setoguchi goal) they came out in the second period with guns blazing. Actually, the Kings did. Alec Martinez got the first goal in the game, unfortunately it was in his own net and the goal was given to Ryane Clowe, who was right in the thick of things.

That's all it took for the Sharks, who came back less than two minutes later for another goal. Martinez was the initial culprit for the Kings again, as he tipped it to Logan Couture, who puts it on the net while Jason Demers sneaks up on the left side, tapping it in with no resistance to make it a two-goal lead. The play in-between all of these moments is largely balanced, and the Kings actually get some good traction going, but Antti Niemi makes some great saves to keep the Sharks ahead.

At 6:00, Matt Greene is called on a hi-sticking penalty, and he draws blood from Scott Nichol, giving the Sharks a four minute power play. The Kings kill the first two minutes, but Clowe strikes again off a Couture rebound to make it a three-goal lead. At this point, Niclas Wallin makes a horrible play for San Jose, sitting in his own zone and all by himself, he flicks it down the ice into the Kings zone, and more accurately, right to Brad Richardson with no Sharks around him. Ryan Smyth puts the puck on net and Richardson circles around it, putting it in behind an out-of-position Niemi. The miscues continued for the Sharks, as Marc-Edouard Vlasic decided he was jealous of Martinez and put the puck in his own goal, which is given to Justin Williams. In Vlasic's defense, he played position well and was just out of place.

That ended things in the second period, and the Sharks went into the third with a 3-2 lead. They weren't content, and jump-started things with a two goals in the first four minutes, each within a minute of eachother. Kyle Wellwood fed Joe Thornton right in front of the net and Jonathan Quick can't get there fat enough. On one of the following faceoffs, Joe Pavelski wins it, feeds it to Dan Boyle, who puts it in front of the net and Pavelski directs it in to give them a 5-2 lead. The remaining two goals were from Torrey Mitchell and Jack Johnson, respectively. All credit to Johnson, his shot from the point had no chance of being blocked, it was a beauty that went in just under the top bar. Niemi never saw it coming. It may actually have been redirected in by Alexei Ponikarovsky.

Niemi stopped 35 shots, while Quick only managed to make 21. San Jose once again dominated faceoff numbers, winning them 38-26. There were two separate occasions with 5-on-3 play, and the Sharks did have another 4-on-4 goal.

The Sharks lead the series 3-1 and head back to HP Pavilion to hopefully get things done in five games.

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Sharks vs. Kings NHL Playoff Scores: San Jose Sets Franchise Record For Goals For Single Period In 6-5 OT Win

The San Jose Sharks recovered from a four-goal deficit to send game three of their quarterfinal series into overtime, where Devin Setoguchi lifted the Sharks to a 6-5 win over the Los Angeles Kings. It was an overtime period that was very back-and-forth, with neither team giving up the neutral zone, exchanging breakaways and attacking shifts that lasted only one shot before going back the other way. Finally, Patrick Marleau took the puck up the left side, dished it to Setoguchi, who buried it for the win at 3:09.

The Kings got things started fast, scoring twice in the first three minutes of play. Nobody on the Sharks seemed to care, they moved slow and sluggish, they didn't even look like they made any effort at all to stop the second score. They did appear to come alive afterward though, after Niclas Wallin was called for a hi sticking penalty and was given a double minor, the Sharks nullified the full four minutes of Los Angeles' power play. They got their own power play shortly after, but it was one of their more uninspired efforts thus far in the playoffs. Dan Boyle got the night started badly, passing the puck right to Michal Handzus, who politely thanked him before slamming the puck past goalie Antti Niemi for the third Kings goal of the period. Willie Mitchell and Kyle Clifford grabbed goals one and two, respectively.

When the second period began, the Sharks opted to keep Niemi in, and it was a mistake. Ian White turns it over much like Boyle did to Handzus previously, and Brad Richardson buried it past Niemi to go up four goals to none. At that point, the Sharks made the goalie change to Antero Niittymaki. Niemi finished having given up four goals on only ten shots. Something about the goalie change gave the Sharks a boost though, and they started playing strong. 

Joe Thornton (who had an otherwise abysmal game, with more than a couple turnovers) dished it to Dan Boyle, who put the puck on net, where Patrick Marleau was waiting to tap it in, putting the Sharks on the board. This set the Sharks on a three-goal streak that saw Ryane Clowe get one of his two goals, the first one on a power play and Logan Couture take a feed from White to bring the Sharks within one at 4-3.

Los Angeles, to their credit, didn't just roll over. Less than half a minute after the Sharks made it 4-3, Ryan Smyth beat Niittymaki to make it 5-3. But the last couple minutes, everything we knew and understood went out the window. The Sharks started absolutely dominating play, hitting hard and at one point, had the Kings players skating in concentric circles, unable to follow the puck that eventually made its way from Dany Heatley, to Boyle and to Clowe, when Clowe sunk it in. With under a minute left to play, Joe Pavelski put the puck into the net as well, taking it into the third period.

It was a horrible first period, an amazing second period that saw the Sharks set a franchise record for goals scored in a period, and a third period that was very balanced both ways and left neither team's fanbase overly confident heading into overtime. No goals were scored in the frame, and both teams seemed too scared to go out of their way to produce some sort of offense.

Expect more expanded thoughts on this game tomorrow, but suffice to say that the Kings should be affected mentally by this kind of defeat, squandering a four goal lead at home and going down 2-1 in the series. 

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Sharks vs. Kings NHL Playoff Scores: Sharks Fail To Show Up, Kings Happy To Accept 4-0 Win

Having to defend six power plays did not help the San Jose Sharks one bit. Three of them came in the first period, and off them, two goals. Ben Eager was called on a slashing penalty and the Kings were out on their first power play of the game, which would lead to their first goal of the game, when Ryan Smyth screened Antti Niemi perfectly and Jack Johnson smacked one in almost effortlessly. Niemi never saw the puck.

Ryane Clowe didn't help things much, getting called on an elbowing penalty (and shortly after, a a cross checking penalty) that led to Joe Thornton making a big error which, coupled with slacking play at the top of the zone for the Sharks, led to a Drew Doughty goal. With the power play almost killed, Thornton decided to circle back into San Jose's zone instead of clearing it out in an effort to take up more power play time. All it took was a giveaway, and Doughty struck for the first time of the night. In the second period, Doughty got his second goal of the game when he circled to the point and let loose with a rocket to the net that Niemi had no chance to stop.

You can bill that one as Thornton's second mistake of the game, as he had all the time in the world to get in the shooting lane and prevent that, but he didn't even attempt to do so and at that point it was a 3-0 game. Kyle Clifford would eventually score in the third, assisted by Doughty, who was in on all four goals on the night, with two goals and two assists. Jonathan Quick had a great night, stopping all 34 shots that went his way.

They probably could have told Quick to play blindfolded and the Kings would have won, as it felt like Los Angeles was blocking more shorts with their defense than their goalie himself. Every single time a puck was near, the Kings capitalized with stellar stick play. As a contrast to that, the Sharks sort of coasted their way through the game, not fighting for the puck and not going for scoring opportunities. The word "tentative" was heard a lot through the game, and it's apt. They did a good job of controlling the puck in the LA zone, but all they could do was pass it back and forth, they didn't get shooting opportunities, let alone scoring opportunities.

The series shifts to Los Angeles and game three will take place on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.

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Jarret Stoll Of The Kings Suspended For One Game After Hit On Sharks' Ian White (Video)

Multiple sources are confirming that Jarrett Stoll of the Los Angeles Kings has been suspended for one game by the NHL for an illegal hit to San Jose Sharks defenseman Ian WhiteDavid Pollak of the Mercury News reported the suspension that most were expecting first. There was immediate speculation that the hit would require disciplinary action by just about everyone at all involved with the game. CSN California's commentary team immediately talked about the no-call on the hit, and Twitter was going strong about how Colin Campbell would not like the hit.

The hit occurred in the first period of play, and the Sharks seemed stretched thin when White did not return for the remainder of the game. White didn't require a trip to the hospital, but head coach Todd McLellan isn't particularly optimistic about White's return for Saturday's game. He didn't skate on Friday, but they are not yet ruling him out.

Stoll will miss Saturday's game two at HP Pavilion as the Kings try and even the score, already down one game with an overtime loss on Thursday. Below is the video of the hit (uploaded by Fel0096)

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Sharks vs. Kings NHL Playoffs Scores: San Jose Gets 3-2 Overtime Win With Joe Pavelski Goal

Joe Pavelski notched his third playoff overtime goal to give the Sharks a 3-2 overtime victory in game one of the quarterfinals in the 2011 NHL Playoffs. It was an overtime period in which the Sharks were stretched thin and clearly tired out, while the Los Angeles Kings seemed to have all the energy in the world to keep going. Defeseman Ian White went down in the first period after being slammed into the boards on a questionable no-call in which White's head slammed and bounced into the boards. He didn't return to the game, and the overtime period was going the Kings' way.

It started well initially, with the Sharks and Kings exchanging scoring chances, but Los Angeles eventually built up the minutes in San Jose's zone, and every second was a heart attack. It was a game that went both ways, with the Sharks dominating the first period, out-shooting the Kings 14-3. When the second period came along, it was all Los Angeles, who out-shot the Sharks and closed the total to 23-19 in favor of San Jose. The third period, mercifully, was edged out by San Jose, but they failed to create a scoring opportunity. It was a fast, aggressive and emotional game in which these two longtime rivals were finally able to bring the heat against one another on the biggest stage.

San Jose had the gameplan to come into this game and score early, and they did: 28 seconds in, Ryane Clowe and White helped Dany Heatley put the puck into net. The rest of the period was dominated by Sharks scoring opportunities. A huge mistake from Logan Couture in the second period led to the Kings' first goal. Couture had broken away on an overly aggressive penalty kill and missed his shot on net, wheeling it around the back of the net and right to Justin Williams, who fed it to Dustin Brown, and Antti Niemi couldn't make the save. It was a 3-on-1 opportunity that occurred solely because of Couture's mistake.

He made up for it though, blowing past a hip-checking Drew Doughty to force the puck in between Jonathan Quick and the post to give the Sharks the lead. Shortly after in the second period though, Williams had a solo goal when Douglas Murray made a mistake behind the San Jose net. A scoreless third took them into overtime.

Antti Niemi was the star for the Sharks despite Pavelski's game-winning goal, making several fantastic saves, including one in which he robbed Kyle Clifford going post-to-post to get in front of the puck. He finished with 33 saves, while Jonathan Quick of the Kings finished with 42 of his own. While the Kings were getting all the opportunities in overtime, they were largely blocked by a team effort from San Jose, while the Kings relied heavily on Quick coming out to meet the puck and laying down on about half of them.

Still no news on Ian White, but there is buzz that there could be disciplinary action against Jarrett Stoll for the hit, and both certainly factor into the series going forward. Williams, in his first game back with the Kings since March, had a goal an assist, while Ryane Clowe, who missed some time for the Sharks, had an assist on all three goals. The two teams will meet again for game two of the quarterfinals series on Saturday.

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2011 NHL Playoff Schedule: Sharks, Kings Play Game One On Thursday

The San Jose Sharks are taking on the Los Angeles Kings in the first round of the 2011 NHL Playoffs. It will be the first time the two teams meet in the playoffs, and the first battle between California teams in quite some time. They'll get things kicked off on Thursday, April 14th at the HP Pavilion in San Jose. The full schedule for the Sharks' quarterfinal matchups against the Kings is below (Sharks times in pacific, rest are eastern):

#2 San Jose Sharks Quarterfinal Series Versus #7 Los Angeles Kings

Thursday, April 14th at San Jose, 7:00 p.m.
Saturday, April 16th at San Jose, 7:00 p.m.
Tuesday, April 19th at Los Angeles, 7:30 p.m.
Thursday, April 21st at Los Angeles, 7:30 p.m.
*Saturday, April 23rd at San Jose, 10:30 p.m.
*Monday, April 25th at Los Angeles, TBD
*Wednesday, April 27th at San Jose, TBD

The asterisks obviously denote games that may or may not need to be played, as it's first to four, as always. What immediately comes to mind is the fact that Justin Williams may have a chance to recover in time to play game one for the Kings, and he is definitely a factor. Expect breakdowns of each game prior to their airing, any pertinent news, and of course recaps following the game. The rest of the quarterfinals are below:

Western Conference

#1 Vancouver Canucks vs. #8 Chicago Blackhawks

Wednesday, April 13 at Vancouver, 10:00 p.m.
Friday, April 15 at Vancouver, 10:00 p.m.
Sunday, April 17 at Chicago, 8:00 p.m. 
Tuesday, April 19 at Chicago, 8:00 p.m. 
*Thursday, April 21 at Vancouver, 10:00 p.m.
*Sunday, April 24 at Chicago, 8:00 p.m. 
*Tuesday, April 26 at Vancouver, TBD

#2 San Jose Sharks vs. #7 Los Angeles Kings

Thursday, April 14th at San Jose, 7:00 p.m.
Saturday, April 16th at San Jose, 7:00 p.m.
Tuesday, April 19th at Los Angeles, 7:30 p.m.
Thursday, April 21st at Los Angeles, 7:30 p.m.
*Saturday, April 23rd at San Jose, 10:30 p.m.
*Monday, April 25th at Los Angeles, TBD
*Wednesday, April 27th at San Jose, TBD

#3 Detroit Red Wings vs. #6 Phoenix Coyotes

Wednesday, April 13 at Detroit, 7:00 p.m.
Saturday, April 16 at Detroit, 1:00 p.m.
Monday, April 18 at Phoenix, 10:30 p.m.
Wednesday, April 20 at Phoenix, 10:30 p.m.
*Friday, April 22 at Detroit, 7:00 p.m.
*Sunday, April 24 at Phoenix, TBD
*Wednesday, April 27 at Detroit, TBD

#4 Anaheim Ducks vs. #5 Nashville Predators

Wednesday, April 13 at Anaheim, 10:30 p.m.
Friday, April 15 at Anaheim, 10:30 p.m.
Sunday, April 17 at Nashville, TBD
Wednesday, April 20 at Nashville, TBD
*Friday, April 22 at Anaheim, 10:00 p.m.
*Sunday, April 24 at Nashville, TBD 
*Tuesday, April 26 at Anaheim, TBD    

Eastern Conference

#1 Washington Capitals vs. #8 New York Islanders

Wednesday, April 13 at Washington, 7:30 p.m.
Friday, April 15 at Washington, 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, April 17 at New York, 3:00 p.m.
Wednesday, April 20 at New York, 7:00 p.m.
*Saturday, April 23 at Washington, 3:00 p.m.
*Monday, April 25 at New York, TBD
*Wednesday, April 27 at Washington, TBD

#2 Philadelphia Flyers vs. #7 Buffalo Sabres

Thursday, April 14 at Philadelphia, 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, April 16 at Philadelphia, 5:00 p.m.
Monday, April 18 at Buffalo, 7:00 p.m.
Wednesday, April 20 at Buffalo, 7:30 p.m.
*Friday, April 22 at Philadelphia, 7:30 p.m.
*Sunday, April 24 at Buffalo, 3:00 p.m.
*Tuesday, April 26 at Philadelphia, TBD

#3 Boston Bruins vs. #6 Montreal Candiens

Thursday, April 14 at Boston, 7:00 p.m. 
Saturday, April 16 at Boston, 7:00 p.m. 
Monday, April 18 at Montreal, 7:30 p.m.
Thursday, April 21 at Montreal, 7:00 p.m.
*Saturday, April 23 at Boston, 7:00 p.m.
*Tuesday, April 26 at Montreal, TBD
*Wednesday, April 27 at Boston, TBD

#4 Pittsburgh Penguins vs. #5 Tampa Bay Lightning

Wednesday, April 13 at Pittsburgh, 7:00 p.m.
Friday, April 15 at Pittsburgh, 7:00 p.m. 
Monday, April 18 at Tampa Bay, 7:30 p.m. 
Wednesday, April 20 at Tampa Bay, 7:30 p.m.
*Saturday, April 23 at Pittsburgh, TBD
*Monday, April 25 at Tampa Bay, TBD
*Wednesday, April 27 at Pittsburgh, TBD

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