I shall cut to the chase and spare you my traditional witticisms, as clever and delightful as they may be. We had a game seven tonight. We have a game seven tomorrow. That needs no sell job.
The Kings and the Sharks were squaring off in Los Angeles. The stakes were simple, but huge. Win and move on. Lose and do the opposite of moving on. As this has been a low scoring, defensive minded series, perhaps it is not surprising that nobody scored in the first period. More than that, the two teams combined for eight shots. Then, in the second period the Kings opened the scoring, as Justin Williams lit the lamp on the power play. A few minutes later, Williams struck again to make it 2-0. In the third period, Dan Boyle blasted a shot into the goal to make it a one score game. In the third, the Sharks really ratcheted up their offense out of desperation. However, Jonathan Quick stood tall, making several big saves. Los Angeles held on for the 2-1 win, and the 4-3 series win.
All series long, the home team won. Fortunately for the Kings, they were the team with the home-ice advantage. Quick made 25 saves, while Antti Niemi made 16. This game was emblematic of the series as a hole. Only three goals in total, some big saves, and a close game. Now, Los Angeles moves on to the Western Conference Finals. They won the Stanley Cup last season, and are one step closer to defending their title. They probably like their chances, presuming Quick can keep up his play. He’s been outstanding. Right now, he may be the favorite to win the Conn Smythe. The Kings are a very good team, and they’ve now used their goal prevention skills to eke out two series victories.
As for San Jose, once again, they failed to reach the Stanley Cup Finals. However, this year that wasn’t really the expectation. They were the sixth seed, a veteran team perhaps on its last legs, but they made a nice run. They swept the Vancouver Canucks in the first round, and they almost beat the Kings in the second round. The Sharks had to deal with some injuries and the obligatory Raffi Torres suspension. San Jose had a good team, but only one team gets to make it to the Finals every year. The Sharks shouldn’t be too disappointed.
So, who will be facing the Kings? We will find out on Wednesday. At 8:00 Eastern on NBC Sports, the Blackhawks host the Red Wings. Detroit got up 3-1 in the series, but Chicago tied it up by clearly being the better team in games six and seven. The Wings need to improve their play. However, it is going to be tricky. They are on the road, and they are the inferior team. I like the Blackhawks chances in this game, thereby spoiling a rhyming Western Conference Finals.
Here we go. Blackhawks. Wings. Game seven. Let’s get to it. And, if you may allow me to indulge in a moment of fandom, go Wings!