It wasn’t a very pretty win or a very pretty series, but the San Jose Sharks have escaped the first round of the NHL’s Stanley Cup playoffs with a 4-3 overtime win over the Los Angeles Kings in Game 6.
The Sharks had three one-goal leads in regulation, but allowed the Kings to tie the game on each occasion. Things looked particularly grim when the Sharks took a five-minute major penalty with under four minutes left in regulation. The penalty carried over into overtime, but San Jose managed to keep the Kings from scoring and forcing a Game 7.
Shortly after the major penalty ended in overtime, a fortuitous bounce left San Jose’s Joe Thornton to slam the puck into an unguarded net to end the game and the series. Devin Setoguchi set up Thornton’s goal by making what he called a “bad pass” to Patrick Marleau. The pass ricocheted off Marleau’s skates and straight to an open Thorton.
Three of San Jose’s four wins in the series came in overtime. Now they can sit and watch Tuesday’s Game 7 between the Vancouver Canucks and Chicago Blackhawks to see who their second round opponent will be. If Chicago wins, the Sharks will get a rematch with the Blackhawks, who last season knocked out the Sharks on their way to the Stanley Cup. If Vanocuver wins, the Sharks face another tough test in the Detroit Red Wings.