The chants of ‘Beat L.A.! Beat L.A.!’ grew louder and louder from the fans inside SAP Center in San Jose on Sunday. The Sharks are halfway to that objective.
The Sharks now lead the L.A. Kings 2-0 in the best-of-seven Western Conference quarter-final series, thanks to a 7-2 victory in Game 2. San Jose trailed by a pair of goals early on, but emphatically came back and completely took this one over with seven unanswered.
And it was the fourth liners, Mike Brown and Raffi Torres, that initially led the charge. Not only were they both physical forces, punishing opposing players with thunderous body checks, but they displayed a scoring touch, too. Brown got the Sharks on the board with his first career Stanley Cup playoff goal less than five minutes into the second period, and Torres tied it at 2-2 less than five minutes afterward on a perfect wrist shot that beat Jonathan Quick on the stick side.
Justin Braun scored the winner. At the time, it was a close hockey game, the Braun goal breaking the deadlock.
The Sharks’ killer instinct took over from there, and they didn’t let up in the third period. It was an onslaught. The Sharks kept coming and the Kings were powerless to stop it.
Quick, the Conn Smythe Trophy winner only two years ago when the Kings won the Stanley Cup but pulled in the series opener, has now given up 12 goals in the last two games. He still made 33 saves in a losing cause Sunday.
Remember when many were keeping an eye on Erik Karlsson after he was seemingly cramping up after logging more than 40 minutes in an OT contest against the Boston Bruins.
It’s possible he was also dealing with that sort of ailment, but he earned some “hockey tough” kudos on Sunday after word surfaced that the Ottawa Senators defenseman was dealing with hairline fractures in his left heel through the series.
Sportsnet’s Jason York refers to the issue as “two small fractures” while ESPN’s Joe McDonald went into specifics, noting that Karlsson explains that the injury happened on March 28 (and was why he missed some games late in the season).
There’s some optimism as the Senators ready for the New York Rangers, at least according to Karlsson.
Either way, that’s impressive stuff from the Senators defenseman, and the sort of information that usually only surfaces after a team has been eliminated. We’ll see if he’s hindered by such issues as the playoffs go along.
The NHL officially announced the nominees for the 2017 Lady Byng on Sunday, and they’re a star-studded bunch: Johnny Gaudreau, Mikael Granlund and Vladimir Tarasenko.
The PHWA determines “the player adjudged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability.”
(Did Tarasenko help eliminate Granlund’s team in a gentlemanly fashion?)
For more on the three finalists, click here.
It’s a feel-good story, especially if you can look beyond questions of officiating.
Clarke MacArthur could have very well never played another NHL game considering his lengthy battles with concussion symptoms. Instead, he drew a penalty on the Boston Bruins in overtime of Game 6 and then managed to score the series-clinching goal.
Now, this isn’t to say that MacArthur didn’t rightfully draw a penalty; it most clearly was. And, in the bigger picture, it’s one of those stories that almost makes you wonder if real-life sports actually do follow Hollywood scripts.
People just wonder about some other decisions during that overtime, in particular, making it frustrating for some Bruins fans to see the season end in such a way.
Whether they like it or not, that is the case, though.
The Senators took Game 6 by a score of 3-2 (OT), winning their series 4-2. They can breathe a sigh of relief in avoiding a Game 7, an especially valuable bonus since Erik Karlsson had been pushed hard lately, logging more than 40 minutes in a recent game.
Ottawa avoids a do-or-die contest. Instead, they’ll face the New York Rangers in the next round while the Bruins enter the summer following an up-and-down campaign.
Every game in this Senators – Bruins series has been decided by one goal, so why not send Game 6 to overtime?
Oh, and speaking of overtime, this contest going beyond regulation makes it 17 OT games, tying an NHL record for the most in a single round.
Ottawa appeared to take a “lazy change” with a 2-1 lead, and Patrice Bergeron made the Senators pay, putting in a rebound to collect the goal that eventually sent this contest to overtime.