Sharks vs. Kings NHL Playoffs Preview: Have The Kings Lost Their Will?

The San Jose Sharks could have easily been down 2-1 in their quarterfinal matchup in the 2011 NHL Playoffs against the Los Angeles Kings. After winning a close game one in overtime, thanks to the heroics of Joe Pavelski, the Sharks went on to drop a 4-0 shutout and managed to look like they had nothing for the Kings in sixty minutes of play. In game three, it was almost more of the same, the Sharks came out flat and allowed three goals in the first period of play. They kept goalie Antti Niemi in, and the Kings scored in the first minute of the second period, giving them, once again, a 4-0 lead.

How demoralizing.

But they didn't let it get to then, they made it 4-1, then 4-2, and eventually, it was tied at 5-5 in the second period. Five goals in the second period was good for a franchise record in the playoffs, and when Devin Setoguchi put the puck in net in overtime, it became the best comeback in San Jose Sharks playoff history.

Now that is demoralizing.

The best thing the Kings could have done in that situation was come back in game four and even the series up again at two games apiece, but the Sharks largely dominated that game, scoring goals in three-goal spurts and winning 6-3 when it all was said and done. Now, play resumes at HP Pavilion with San Jose holding a 3-1 edge. How can the Kings recover after something like that? It's not that they can't, it's just that it's a really big longshot at this point, isn't it?

Ryane Clowe, Joe Thornton and Pavelski (along with Niemi) have been very key this series for San Jose. They will be looking to swarm early and get the Sharks out of the quarterfinals with the game two loss behind them, forgotten. The Kings could have Scott Parse back in action tonight, who's been hurt since November when he suffered a hip injury. His production will be questionable at this point, though. Still, he figures to support Justin Williams and the rest of the Kings in putting points on the board.

The Sharks have never lost a series when leading it 3-1, while the Kings have recovered from such a deficit only once. The puck drops tonight at 7:30 p.m., and the game will be on CSN California and the Versus network.

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