The Los Angeles Kings defeated San Jose in a game and series for the history books last night, with a final score of 5 to 1. It was an improbable win, considering only three other teams in NHL history have come back to win a series after being at the edge of elimination.
As Pacific Division rivals, Los Angeles and the San Jose Sharks faced each other five times during the 2012-2013 regular season. The Kings walked away with the upper hand from those meetings with 3 wins, 1 loss, and 1 shootout loss, but the Sharks ultimately ended their season with 111 points, besting the Kings’ 100 point season.
No one would have expected the first round of their playoffs to begin the way it did – the Sharks handedly won the first two games, outscoring the Kings for a two-game total of 13 to the Kings’ 5. And when San Jose won Game Three in Los Angeles in overtime, the Kings were facing a challenge of monumental proportions.
Each of the next four games began with the Kings on the verge of elimination, but defying the odds, Los Angeles achieved a historic feat, reverse-sweeping the Sharks with four consecutive wins. The Kings would outscore the Sharks by a margin of 18 to 5 through those final four games.
Neither Coach Darryl Sutter, nor the players seemed to be too concerned with the historical significance of the team’s accomplishments, however.
“It’s no big deal to me at all. You try to win a series against a team that had home ice and was ahead of you all year, and we finally caught them,” Sutter said.
Team Captain Dustin Brown had this to say when asked about the historical aspect of their series win: “Right now, we’re excited about just advancing because at the end of the day that’s what it was about. It wasn’t about making history or doing that sort of thing. It just kind of happened for us and now we have to get prepared again. We’ll look back on it and then it will probably be a little more surprising.”
The Kings now advance to the Western Conference semi-finals where they will battle the Anaheim Ducks. This matchup will be the first time the two teams have met in the post-season. During the 2013-2014 regular season, the Kings and Ducks each took a game in a shootout, and the Ducks won the other three contests in regulation. Anaheim’s first round against Dallas went six games.
Game one between the Kings and Ducks will take place this Saturday in Anaheim. The full schedule for the series can be viewed here.