The San Jose Sharks have three options in their series with the Los Angeles Kings: (1.) Win Game 6 on Sunday, travel to Los Angeles, win Game 7 on Tuesday, and advance to the Western Conference Final; (2.) Win Game 6 on Sunday, travel to Los Angeles, lose Game 7 on Tuesday, and shake hands at center ice while the Kings advance; (3.) Lose Game 6 on Sunday, shake hands at center ice, and watch the Kings move on.
Inside the Sharks’ locker room, there is only one option to consider, and that’s option 1. The other two options cannot be allowed. However, that state of affairs depends totally on how the Sharks perform on Sunday.
This series has been heading in this direction since the drop of the first puck on May 14th at the Staples Center. In fact, Game 5 was the mirror image of Game 4 in so many different ways. Everything that the Sharks did to the Kings in Game 4, the Kings dished right back in Game 5.
The Sharks know what they have to do. Here is a brief rundown of the challenge from an historical perspective:
- Los Angeles has a 7-1 lifetime series record when leading a series, 3 games to 2. The one loss occurred in 1968, in the team’s very first playoff series against the Minnesota North Stars. Minnesota won Game 6 at home, in overtime, and traveled to Los Angeles and won Game 7 by a 9-4 score.
- The last time that the Kings had a 3-2 series lead, they eliminated the St. Louis Blues in Round 1 with a 2-1 victory at Staples Center. The last time that they were in this situation on the road, they traveled to New Jersey for Game 6 of last season’s Final. New Jersey won, 2-1, and forced a Game 7, which L.A. won, 6-1, to take the Stanley Cup.
- When they have a chance to clinch the series, the Kings have a lifetime record of 13-10.
- San Jose has a 1-8 lifetime series record when trailing a series, 3 games to 2. The one series win occurred in 1995, when the Sharks were shut out, 5-0, by Calgary in Game 5, and followed up with wins in Game 6 and 7.
- The last time that the Sharks were down 3-2 in a series, they traveled to Anaheim for Game 6 in that 2009 series, and lost, 4-1. The last time that they were in this situation at home, it was 2001, and they lost to St. Louis, 2-1.
- When facing elimination, the Sharks have a record of 9-15, including 3 wins in the second round. The last time that they faced elimination in the Western Conference Semi-Final, they beat Detroit, 3-2, in Game 7 of the 2011 series.
- San Jose’s record in home games when down 3-2 in a series is 1-3, with the win coming in that 1995 game vs. Calgary. Darryl Sutter was behind the bench for the Sharks in the other three games against Dallas (1998), Colorado (1999), and St. Louis (2001).
What do all of the above numbers mean, beyond some interesting historical perspective? Absolutely nothing, because the Kings are defending Stanley Cup champions, and the Sharks are a different hockey team this year. All I can say is that regardless of what time they drop the puck on Sunday, it’s going to be a fantastic hockey game. Tune in.
There was a 5-on-3 situation for the Kings in the final two minutes of Game 2, and Los Angeles converted on the power play to get the win in regulation. One of the man-advantage goals was the result of a “delay over glass” penalty. In Game 3, there was an early Dan Boyle power play goal made possible by the “delay over glass” call, and then, there was a 5-on-3 power play for the Sharks that actually carried into overtime, and produced the winning goal by Logan Couture.
Couture was the hero of the night. After getting blasted by a Jeff Carter check, he hobbled off the ice and was said to be under evaluation. Then, to a tremendous ovation, he returned to action, and sent the crowd into ecstatic celebration with his game-winner in OT.
In the previous game, Anze Kopitar, top center on the Kings, was their rallying point. After going into the dressing room with an injury, he returned to the ice, and it was the Staples Center crowd on their feet with a rousing cheer for their returning hero.
What a series this has been!
For the broadcasters, there’s a unique situation with the names. It gets very interesting when Justin Braun is defending Dustin Brown, for instance, or if Mike Richards and Brad Richardson are on the ice. In that second juxtaposition, it is interesting to note that the New York Rangers have a top player, Brad Richards, who fits into this maelstrom. Thankfully, he’s not on the roster for this series, but wouldn’t it be neat if somehow, somewhere, the Rangers could get a guy named Mike Richardson for their roster?
This is getting right up there with the notion of Miroslav Satan playing for the Devils, or Martin St. Louis playing for the Blues. Of course, Dwight King plays for the Kings.
We’re looking forward to Game 4 at HP Pavilion on Tuesday. See you on the radio!
The San Jose Sharks have run smack into the path of playoff adversity, and the circumstances by which it has arrived have been exceedingly uncomfortable for players, coaches, and the fan faithful.
There will be those who wish to abandon ship. There will be those who wish to crawl into the fetal position in a corner of a room, or who prefer to engage in an endless session of hand-wringing, assuming that the worst is here. There are no such characters inside the San Jose Sharks’ dressing room.
In a sense, Game 2 was a case of the hockey gods giving one back to the Kings, in a returned favor from an even more unlikely Sharks playoff comeback at the Staples Center just two short years earlier.
It was Tuesday, April 19, 2011, and it was another playoff game between the Sharks and the Kings. Los Angeles had just won the previous game in the series, 4-0, with Jonathan Quick picking up the shutout. Unlike this season, it was Game 3 of the best-of-seven playoff series, but it was also at the Staples Center, since L.A. didn’t have home ice advantage.
One game has been played in the Western Conference Semi-Final between the San Jose Sharks and the Los Angeles Kings, and I’m thinking about a Yogi Berra baseball quote when trying to characterize what this series is going to be like.
“Baseball is ninety percent mental,” Yogi once quipped. “The other half is physical.”
Well, this series between the Sharks and the Kings is also going to seem one with physical prominence. It’s one where the grinding along the boards and in front of the net will also be prominent, recalling a moment last night where five skaters hammered for the puck in the San Jose defensive zone for what seemed like an eternity before it finally popped out to a Sharks stick.
But as Yogi indicated about his sport, ninety percent of the Sharks challenge in this series is probably going to be right between the ears.
All in all, the Sharks did many good things in this game, especially considering the week off. Realistically, the one place where the rust mattered over the rest was in the emotional edge, which slowly returned as the game went on. As my broadcast partner Jamie Baker noted on the radio last night, “Every battle counts.” He’s correct.
There were a lot of interesting chess matches going on between the coaches. There were quick line changes early in the game. There was a stand-off near the end of an icing before a time out was finally called. But there were physical challenges, too.
Primarily, the Sharks have to maintain their patience and their composure. They’re going to have more situations in this series where they could be frustrated by the Stanley Cup champions. But make no mistake, now that one team has a victory, this series is on, and while the chess matches will continue, the desperation, the rivalry, and the emotional edge will escalate.
We look forward to bringing all the action to you on the radio. See you on Thursday.
EXCLUSIVE SHARKS RADIO COVERAGE CAN SYNCH WITH TV
With all television coverage going national with NBC Sports Network and NBC from this point forward, many people in Northern California will look to San Jose Sharks Radio Network coverage for a local broadcast.
Fans will be able to tune in to flagship station KFOX at 98.5 or 102.1 FM for every minute of action. In communities ranging from Eureka to Fresno, the multi-station San Jose Sharks Radio Network will also be there for you. You can find an affiliate station and local schedule in your area by going to www.sjsharksradio.net.
With all television going to NBC and NBC Sports Network from here on in, many fans have found that they’d like to tune in to the radio for the local broadcast and watch games at the same time, as they do in the regular season when games are exclusively national. However, with the digital and satellite delivery platforms that each medium has, there is usually a delay between what you hear on the radio and what you see on television.
Well, there is a way to synch up what you hear on the radio and what you see on TV. Many of our listeners have done so during the season, but with the Conference Semi-Finals about to start, more people will want to know just how to do so.
Let us count the ways:
- If you are listening to the game on a regular radio, it is likely that you’ll hear what happens on the ice before you see it on TV. There are several methods of delaying the radio, including a product available at www.sportsyncradio.com or www.fansyncradio.com. Another way is through freeware from http://www.daansystems.com/radiodelay/.
- If you are listening to the internet stream or on a mobile device using sjsharks.com, kfox.com, the KFOX app, or an app such as TuneIn Radio, and putting it over your stereo speakers, the internet stream is normally about 30 seconds behind the action you see on TV. Using your DVR, you can pause the live TV until it synchs up with the radio.
- A very informative piece was posted some time ago by Fear the Fin and it goes over many additional options with links on the subject. Click here to read it. A second update was posted here.
We really appreciate the fact that our loyal listeners on KFOX 98.5/102.1 FM and our Sharks Radio Network station list tune in each and every game, and we welcome all of the additional listeners who tune in while watching the national telecast. Thanks for being there with us!
While the San Jose Sharks have held a 3-games-to-0 lead in a best-of-seven series a total of four times, tonight’s Game Four is the first time that the team has the opportunity to close out a series at home. If they capture the series, it’ll be the first time that they have ever have a clean sweep in a playoff round.
An April 28, 2004 in Denver, San Jose put Evgeni Nabokov in goal against David Aebischer of the Avalanche. Both goaltenders duked it out to a scoreless tie after 60 minutes, with Nabokov stopping 30 shots and Aebischer making 26 saves. In overtime, Joe Sakic notched the game winner at 5:15, ending a 178:14 span of shutout hockey for Nabokov. The Sharks would eventually win that series, 4 games to 2.
On May 6, 2010, the Sharks traveled to Joe Louis Arena with a 3-0 series lead. In that game, Johan “The Mule” Franzen was the big story, as he scored 4 goals in a 7-1 Red Wings win that would be Detroit’s last hurrah in the series. The Sharks took Game 5 back at HP Pavilion, 2-1, with Patrick Marleau scoring the series winning goal.
On May 6, 2011, exactly one year later, the Sharks were back at the Joe for another chance at a sweep. Detroit jumped out to a 3-0 lead (2 goals by Nicklas Lidstrom), but the Sharks evened the score, 3-3, when Logan Couture, Dan Boyle, and Dany Heatley scored for San Jose.
That game ended with just 1:27 to play in the third when Darren Helm scored the game winner for the Red Wings, and it took the Sharks the full seven games to earn a victory, with Game Seven’s win coming at HP Pavilion in a classic game won by the Sharks, 3-2. Oh, by the way, Patrick Marleau had the series winning goal.
What does this history have to do with this season’s Game Four scenario against Vancouver? Not a lot. However, it does tell us that just showing up for Game Four guarantees nothing but the best effort from the team that is down, 0-3. The Sharks expect nothing less, they’re prepared, and they’re excited about the opportunity. Most importantly, they’re at home.
See you on the radio!
It’s time for the greatest part of the season, the Stanley Cup playoffs, to begin for the San Jose Sharks. It is a time for excitement, joy, drama, hope, and heartbreak, with hopefully not too much heartbreak for all who will immerse themselves in the best sports challenge in the world.
It’s already happened in the games played yesterday. A starting goaltender, Niklas Backstrom, was injured in warm-ups for Minnesota, and a backup struggling with health problems, Josh Harding, stepped in and held the Wild all the way into overtime before dropping Game One in Chicago. In St. Louis, the two best players on the ice were involved in the game-winning play in OT: with the L.A. Kings on the power play, goaltender Jonathan Quick displayed a characteristic flaw by misplaying the puck, and Alex Steen used his quickness to get to it and knock it into the net for another game-winner in overtime in a Blues win.
The image of Quick slamming his mask-protected head against the ice in disappointment and self-loathing is one of those that we’ll remember from Day One of the 2013 Stanley Cup playoffs, but be aware that there are many more amazing moments to come, and not just ones involving the goaltenders.
Let’s go over the series between the San Jose Sharks and the Vancouver Canucks, and promptly throw the statistics out the window. That’s Point Number 9 in former Sharks captain Bob Errey’s “16 Points for Playoff Success,” aptly selected because of Point Number 1: It takes 16 wins to win the Stanley Cup.
|MONTREAL - 1950's: NHL Hall of Famer Doug Harvey of the Montreal Canadiens skates with the puck in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
First impressions are usually very important, so the first people that you see when you come to HP Pavilion are important people who guide you to the proper destination, provide you with the right information, and cheerfully help you each time they see you.
HP Pavilion has had a number of people man the front door, and over the past several years, two individuals have been the first people that you see when you arrive at the building. Given its hockey status, I always found it delightfully appropriate to note that one of the gentlemen’s names is Doug, and the other is Harvey.
For those who don’t make the connection, Doug Harvey was one of the greatest defensemen to play the game. He spent 13 seasons with the Montreal Canadiens, three with the New York Rangers, one with Detroit, and two more with St. Louis. He won 6 Stanley Cups, all with Montreal, including 5 straight between 1955 and 1960.
Back here in San Jose, we particularly have enjoyed having Doug and Harvey greet us each day at HP Pavilion, and many of you have undoubtedly done so as well. But sadly, that HP Pavilion tradition will not continue completely, as we heard the sad news that Harvey died on March 31 at the age of 79.
HP Pavilion’s Harvey was Harvey Allen Collins, and he was a resident of Los Gatos for 40 years. He served our country during the Korean conflict and in the Army reserves and attained the rank of captain. He had a great family and a wonderful life in Silicon Valley over the last 40 years or so, and he was one of the people who made our lives a little more cheerful at HP Pavilion.
As the Sharks begin their quest for the Stanley Cup, we will continue to be happy when Doug greets us at HP Pavilion, but let us also take a moment and remember Harvey. Our condolences go to his wife Barbara and their family.
Who will the Sharks face in the Stanley Cup playoffs? Who do they want to face in the Stanley Cup playoffs? Let’s look at that moving target as of this moment, go through the possibilities, and decide.
As of this moment, the Western Conference field is not set. There are nine teams playing for eight spots. The Minnesota Wild can clinch a spot and eliminate Columbus if they win tonight against Edmonton in any fashion, and if that doesn’t happen, they’ll have another chance at Colorado on Saturday.
Detroit can get into the playoffs for the 22nd consecutive season if they get one point in their season finale against Dallas.
Columbus can get in if they win their last game against Nashville, but only if the Red Wings lose in regulation to Dallas. Then, the final team, either Minnesota or Detroit, would be determined by the outcomes of the last two Minnesota games. Detroit would need a lot of help to make it in that situation.
Has your head exploded yet?
Now, let’s look at the possible opponents, and render a decision as to which one you want to play.
The Sharks can still finish fourth, fifth, sixth, or seventh in the Western Conference. Their potential opponents could be: Anaheim, Vancouver, St. Louis, or Los Angeles.
ST. LOUIS: It could be a setup to avenge last season’s WCQF defeat, but it would also involve the most travel for San Jose in the first round. St. Louis is a good sports town, and the Sharks have faced St. Louis four times in the playoffs, so there’s a longstanding rivalry there.
VANCOUVER: Another opportunity to avenge a stinging playoff defeat, this time the WCF round in 2011. Vancouver is a great city with passionate fans. It isn’t a long flight to VAN, either. It would be a great series.
LOS ANGELES and ANAHEIM: No explanation is really necessary, is it? These are the two big geographical rivals for the Sharks, it’s an easier travel situation, and either series would be a classic. The Sharks would get the chance to either knock out the defending Stanley Cup champions or would have a chance to avenge a bitterly disappointing playoff loss in 2009.
FINAL VERDICT: The Sharks want to finish the season with a winning note on the road, and that would give them their only chance to capture home ice with a fourth seed. But as to the opponent or the seeding, it really doesn’t matter. Let’s remember the lesson from last year, when the eighth-seeded Kings steamrolled through everyone to win the Stanley Cup. In the final analysis, winning the Stanley Cup is the only thing that matters, regardless of playoff seeding or opponent.
See you on the radio on Saturday in Los Angeles, and find out how it all turns out!
With only four laps to go in the regular season race, it’s a fight to the finish for positioning with no pit stop windows open for all 30 teams in the NHL. It’s been interesting to hear the perspectives of the players and coaches as the intensity ratchets up, the margins for error get thinner, and everything comes together for the men in Teal.
Case in point number one involves the search for more offense and what needs to be improved. During our KFOX/Sharks Radio Network broadcast from Dallas, associate coach Larry Robinson said, “I personally think we can get better in our D-zone coverage when we don’t have the puck.
Offensively, I think that’s going to come, getting to the net more and that kind of stuff, but going into the playoffs, I think it’s not so much about what you do offensively, it’s more about what you do defensively, and no better example than last year, when you had two of the top defensive teams in the League going at it in the Finals, so that’s the point that we want to get to.”
It was interesting to hear that, because the Sharks have been doing a good job in defensive areas for much of the season, and have gone through stretches where they couldn’t score goals. Yet in the past few games, Robinson’s mantra of continuously focusing on improving the defensive game has brought many benefits in the other area of the ice.