Author: James O'Brien

Los Angeles Kings v San Jose Sharks - Game Seven

PHT’s top 14 of ’14: Kings stage historic comeback vs. San Jose


It’s likely that a good chunk of the teams who have been down 0-3 in playoff series have put on brave faces.

Still, hindsight has a way of making seemingly throwaway comments seem like much more. At the time, many probably rolled their eyes when Los Angeles Kings head coach Darryl Sutter said his team would not “go away quietly” against the San Jose Sharks after falling behind 0-3. With the Kings’ stunning “reverse sweep” and subsequent championship run in mind, Sutter looks more like a soothsayer.

That’s not to say that the Kings were going into Game 4 with a ton of swagger.

Captain Dustin Brown described that hole as “the most dire situation” the Kings had been in.

Let’s look back at the four games the Kings ended up winning and some of the fallout:

Game 4

Tyler Toffoli, Marian Gaborik and Justin Williams helped Los Angeles win 6-3.

Even early on, it seemed like the Kings were planting seeds that they might be able to overcome the deficit, as 3-0 leads were deemed a little less foreboding than they once were.

Game 5

The Kings “went into the cage” and forced Antti Niemi out of the Sharks’ net for a second consecutive game. Bitter San Jose fans will note that this was the game in which key defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic was injured. Los Angeles ended up winning 3-0.

Dan Boyle wondered if the Sharks were taking their series lead for granted.

Game 6

Los Angeles became the ninth team to force a Game 7 after being down 3-0, an accomplishment in its own right. The Kings once again won decisively, taking this one 4-1. There was some nastiness in this one:

There were plenty of negative reactions to the Sharks’ sudden slump.

Game 7

Once again, the Kings survived. Once again, the final score wasn’t particularly close, as Los Angeles beat San Jose 5-1 to become the fourth team in NHL history to erase a 3-0 deficit and win a playoff series. Incredibly, Jeff Carter and Mike Richards were on the Philadelphia Flyers team that accomplished such a feat against the Boston Bruins during the 2010 playoffs.


Williams remarked that the Kings should not “do that again,” yet it seemed like they used that big-game experience to become serious survivors in elimination situations.

Los Angeles ended up moving on and winning their second Stanley Cup, although not without remarking that they saw fear in the Sharks’ eyes during their comeback. To some extent, the Sharks are still dealing with the reverberations of that loss as the organization waffled on the subject of rebuilding, awkwardly stripped Joe Thornton of the captaincy and generally seemed to send mixed messages about how it would deal with that crushing defeat.

While the Kings’ 0-3 story ended with the Stanley Cup hoisted in the air, it appears that there are still a few chapters remaining in San Jose’s version of the story.

PHT’s top 14 of ’14: Oshie’s shootout mastery in Sochi

Sochi Olympics Ice Hockey Men

At the time, it seemed like T.J. Oshie’s shootout heroics against Russia would be spoken about in hushed tones as a prelude to something bigger.

Would it spur the U.S. on to greater heights? Could the loss wake up Russia on its way to winning gold?


Few would have predicted how poorly things would go for the two proud countries after that thrilling finish. In a way, the Americans’ 3-2 preliminary-round win over the Russians was the unexpected high point for both as far men’s hockey went during the 2014 Winter Olympics.

By the tournament’s end, the U.S. flopped against Finland to fall short of a bronze medal while Russia didn’t even sniff the podium to the shock of hometown fans.

Looking back, all we have is that moment in which Oshie became something of a mainstream star … but oh, what a moment it was.

source: AP
Source: AP

As Russia trotted out high-end stars such as Ilya Kovalchuk and Pavel Datsyuk, American head coach Dan Byslma tabbed Oshie over and over. Again and again. Simply put, Oshie’s simple-but-deadly shootout move was the best bet in Bylsma’s mind. Considering the results, it was pretty difficult to quibble with such a thought process.

Oshie scored four shootout goals in that game. He received six total opportunities and five in a row. It was the kind of moment that just begged for “Miracle” references.

Things really took off when he got the “meme” treatment, though.

“It was very surreal,” Oshie told PHT days after that memorable run in the shootout. “I’m very humbled by it. It was a crazy night for me.”

Ultimately, the U.S. fell well short of expectations. Considering their offensive struggles against elite teams (they didn’t score at even strength against Russia, Canada or Finland), there’s something uncomfortably fitting about the fact that the United States’ best moment came in a “skills competition.”

That kind of nitpicking certainly wasn’t happening on the day Oshie became a household hockey name, though.

More on that great moment:

Oshie called it “very surreal”

He was humble about it

Reactions on Twitter

Why Bylsma kept going back to Oshie

Is Loui Eriksson starting to get it together?


Boston Bruins forward Loui Eriksson probably has the right attitude about the inevitable Tyler Seguin comparisons: he told that there’s not much he can do about the rising star’s work in Dallas.

The key, then, is just to play as well as he can. So far, that really hasn’t worked out so well in Boston, but that might be changing.

Bruins head coach Claude Julien seems to notice a difference lately.

“Like all players in this league when they get on a roll, they feel good about themselves,” Julien said. “To me, he’s showing the kind of player we’ve always thought he was. He’s scoring some goals, he’s making some plays and he’s killing penalties. He’s a guy that you can use in all kinds of situations, so right now I think we’re seeing some of his best hockey.”

The 29-year-old’s really been finding his scoring touch lately.

Eriksson scored two goals in Boston’s crucial win against the Nashville Predators on Tuesday. He has four goals and two assists for six points in his last four contests.

While his possession stats were subtly good last season, they remain respectable enough so far in 2014-15, so there’s reason to believe that he can be the two-way player Boston was expecting when they made that pivotal trade.

Will he ever be able to silence those who can only compare him to the superstar the Bruins parted with? Probably not, but that doesn’t mean that the Swede can’t help Boston win games. It seems like he’s finally making that evident in recent games.