The San Jose Sharks have one of the worst reputations in the Stanley Cup playoffs. For about a decade, the Sharks have had chances to make a serious run at the Stanley Cup, yet the playoffs always end in embarrassing fashion for them. Yet nothing compared to the collapse San Jose finished on April 30, as the Los Angeles Kings staved off elimination for the fourth straight night with a 5-1 Game 7 victory.
The Kings became the fourth team in Stanley Cup playoff history to erase a 3-0 series deficit, and the second since 2010. Ironically, current Kings Jeff Carter and Mike Richards were part of the Philadelphia Flyers team that rallied from 3-0 down against the Boston Bruins in 2010. But those Bruins came back to win it all the next year, while the Sharks have done nothing for years to suggest they are capable of that.
San Jose was incapable in Game 7 after taking a 1-0 lead early in the second period. Jonathan Quick held firm after that, stopping 39 shots in his latest playoff masterpiece. Los Angeles evened it up on a Drew Doughty power play goal, then Anze Kopitar capped the second period with the go-ahead tally.
Just like in Game 6 at Los Angeles, San Jose fell apart in the third period and made Game 7 look more lopsided than it was. The Kings got an insurance goal from Tyler Toffoli to start the third, as the Sharks could do nothing but pull goalie Antti Niemi early, leading to two final empty net strikes.
Despite winning the Stanley Cup in 2012 and reaching the conference finals in 2013, the Kings accomplished their greatest and rarest playoff feat to date. Now they can carry the momentum in the next round against an Anaheim Ducks team that had the most points in the West, but hardly has Los Angeles's postseason experience or resilience.
The Sharks had been all but locked up to face the Ducks for days, yet couldn't get that one final win. Falling short by one or two wins has been the story of San Jose's playoff history, albeit not to this stunning extent.
The accompanying list details the Sharks' various Stanley Cup playoff flame outs since 2002, which hasn't even paid off with a berth in the Cup finals -- a milestone that looks further away than ever for this franchise.