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.
Sharks can't dethrone champions
2002 second round: Colorado Avalanche 4, Sharks 3
The Sharks were a win away from reaching their first conference final over the defending champion Avalanche. Yet they lost a chance to clinch at home in overtime in Game 6, then came to Colorado and got shut out by 1-0.
Sharks lose first conference final
2004 conference finals: Calgary Flames 4, Sharks 2
The Sharks were poised for a breakthrough in 2004, facing Jarome Iginla and the Cinderella Flames in the conference finals. However, the Sharks lost all three home games in the series, then couldn't win a third road game at Calgary in Game 6.
Sharks fall to Cinderella Oilers
2006 second round: Edmonton Oilers 4, Sharks 2
The Sharks faced another Cinderella team that would eventually make it to Game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals. In this case, the eighth seeded Oilers erased a 2-0 series deficit to win four straight, as the tide turned in a Game 3 triple overtime loss for the Sharks,
Sharks blow another semifinal lead
2007 second round: Detroit Red Wings 4, Sharks 2
The Sharks carried a 2-1 lead and home ice for Game 4 against the Red Wings. Once San Jose fell in overtime, Detroit took control and moved on from there.
Sharks finally give in to Stars
2008 second round: Dallas Stars 4, Sharks 2
Another six-game conference semifinal ended later than usual for the Sharks, who took four overtimes to finally be eliminated on a Brenden Morrow goal in Game 5.
Top seeded Sharks stunned early
2009 first round: Anaheim Ducks 4, Sharks 2
The Sharks were the West's top seed and President's Trophy winners, as years of Stanley Cup playoff misery looked ready to pay off -- until the eighth seeded Ducks proved otherwise.
Sharks swept out of conference finals
2010 conference finals: Chicago Blackhawks 4, Sharks 0
The Sharks had home ice in a conference final with a Blackhawks team that hadn't won a Stanley Cup in over 50 years, or made the finals in almost 20. None of that would matter once the Blackhawks steamrolled the Sharks in four straight, before bringing the Cup back to Chicago.
Another conference final blowout
2011 conference finals: Vancouver Canucks 4, Sharks 1
The Sharks managed to win a game in their latest conference final, yet that was all the mercy the Canucks would give them. A Game 5 double overtime goal from Kevin Bieksa would send San Jose home this time.
Sharks fall in seven to Kings
2013 second round: Los Angeles Kings 4, Sharks 3
The home team won every game in this series, which worked against the Sharks in Los Angeles in Game 7. Justin Williams gave the defending champion Kings all the goals they would need in the finale.
Sharks can't clinch four straight times
2014 first round: Kings 4, Sharks 3
This seven-game defeat to the Kings became much more infamous than last year's, due to the Sharks' four straight losses after being up by 3-0. Once Anze Kopitar put Los Angeles ahead for good late in the second period of Game 7, San Jose was helpless in the face of infamy.