(SAN JOSE) -- If the San Jose Sharks do not win Game Five of their first-round, Stanley Cup playoff series against the Los Angeles Kings tonight, at home, they could be in big trouble, the kind of trouble no team wants to be in, truthfully.
Because a loss tonight at the SAP Center means a Game Six in Los Angeles on Monday night, and that's a dangerous proposition for a Sharks team that rarely wins in the Staples Center (despite their Game Three, overtime win there last week).
And the pressure of a potential Game Seven on home ice after blowing a 3-0 series lead is something the Sharks don't want to revisit, especially since they had that experience in 2011 against the Detroit Red Wings in the second round.
The Kings' somewhat easy win in Game Four on Thursday night means the pressure is on San Jose, even with a 3-1 series lead -- Los Angeles has nothing to lose, and the Sharks have everything to lose.
San Jose did a good job in Game Four early, twice coming back from one-goal deficits in each of the first two periods. But when the Kings scored twice in the final four minutes of the second frame, it was too much for the Sharks to overcome.
The real backbreaker was L.A.'s Tyler Toffoli scoring with just 53 seconds remaining in the second period; it gave the Kings a 4-2 lead, and San Jose didn't have the ability to come back in the third period, especially after they coughed up another goal just 34 seconds into that period.
Game over, and back to San Jose for a Game Five that is going to be insane at the SAP Center. The Sharks, historically, have had a tough time completing sweeps, and the franchise never did it until last year in the first round against the Vancouver Canucks.
In the past, San Jose failed to complete sweeps in 2004 against Colorado, in 2010 against Detroit, again in 2011 against the Red Wings and now in 2014 against the Kings. The good news is, of course, that each time the Sharks went up 3-0 in a series, they did win the matchup.
That's not saying much when historically, only three teams have ever overcome a 3-0 deficit in the hockey postseason, but San Jose did beat Colorado in six games in 2004, the Red Wings in five games in 2010 and Detroit in seven games in 2011.
The Sharks and their fans would prefer a repeat of that 2010 series against Detroit: after winning Game Three in overtime on the road, San Jose got plastered in Game Four at Joe Louis Arena. But the Sharks won Game Five at home and advanced to the conference finals that season.
Yes, that would be just fine with SAP crowd tonight, no doubt.