Skip to main content
  1. AXS Entertainment
  2. Sports
  3. NHL

San Jose looking desperate now against L.A. in a series they once controlled

See also

It's Game Six tonight for the San Jose Sharks in Los Angeles, and perhaps, it's a game they never needed to play -- but now that they have to? The Sharks are desperate to win and avoid a Game Seven back at home on Wednesday night.

Because anything goes in a Game Seven, and even on home ice, it's not where a team that was once up 3-0 in a series wants to be. But that's where the Sharks find themselves after a listless, pathetic effort in Game Five on Saturday night.

With a chance to clinch the series at home, San Jose came out flatter than a smooth sheet of ice. The Los Angeles Kings outshot them 18-6 in the first period, and the Sharks trailed, 2-0, after the first 20 minutes. Then, just 22 seconds into the second session, L.A. scored again, and the game was effectively over.

Backup goaltender Alex Stalock came in and finished the game for a shell-shocked Antti Niemi, who was pulled for the second straight game in the series -- leaving the question on many San Jose fans' minds, whether Niemi is ever going to be able to help the Sharks win that elusive Stanley Cup.

Niemi won the Cup with the Chicago Blackhawks in 2010, but he didn't need to be stellar that postseason: he had a 2.63 goals-against average that spring, along with a .910 save percentage. Pedestrian numbers, to be sure, but enough on that team.

This spring for the Sharks, Niemi has posted numbers much worse: 3.90 GAA, .882 SP. And his San Jose teammates are on the verge of a historic collapse after taking a 3-0 lead in the series.

Sure, the team won Game Three in Los Angeles in overtime, and it may take another gutty, gritty effort like that to close out this series tonight in Game Six. How the Sharks respond to this adversity will tell the watching public a lot about the team's fortitude and chances to win the Cup this year.

It was a weak sign in Game Five, of course: the Kings played faster and harder, and they won. Tonight, the Sharks will have to turn the tables on a very good team -- again -- if they want to advance in the postseason playoffs.

Advertisement

Today's top buzz...

  • Jack White
    Reddit users have fun photoshopping an angry Jack White at a Cubs game
    Music Buzz
  • Kliff Kingsbury
    Kliff Kingsbury reads a series of flattering tweets praising his good looks
    Video
    Today's Buzz
  • Jamaal Charles
    Kansas City Chiefs make Jamaal Charles the second highest paid running back in NFL
    NFL Buzz
  • Slash
    Slash and The Conspirators crush it at Hard Rock, AP Awards
    Camera
    20 Photos
  • Monks of Mellonwah
    Exclusive interview: Monks of Mellonwah talk music, touring and more
    Camera
    9 Photos
  • Nikki Bella
    How will fans react if the WWE decides to turn Nikki Bella into a heel?
    Camera
    5 Photos