Stanley Cup Champion Kings Going to Seventh Game Versus Sharks

Last year, they were the eighth seed that no one wanted to face as the postseason went on.

This year, the defending Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings will be pushed to a seventh game for the first time when they host San Jose in the deciding game of their Western Conference semifinal series on Tuesday night.

The winner-takes-all contest was made necessary when the sixth-seeded Sharks held on for a 2-1 win against the fifth-seeded Kings on Sunday night in Game 6 at HP Pavilion at San Jose. It will be the first seventh game for Los Angeles since 2002.

"Who cares?" said Kings head coach Darryl Sutter succinctly on NBC Sports Network afterwards, when notified that Los Angeles hadn't gone to a seventh game in 11 years.

On Sunday, the Kings sought to close out San Jose, but fell behind by a 2-0 score following goals by Joe Thornton (power play) and T.J. Galiardi. Kings team captain Dustin Brown banked the puck in off Sharks netminder Antti Niemi from a sharp angle late in the second period to pull Los Angeles within one, but that was as close as the Kings would get.

Goaltender Jonathan Quick (24 saves) was pulled for an extra skater in the final minute, but his teammates spent most of that time trying to get the puck out of their own zone as the Sharks kept dumping it back in to prevent a break-out. Quick has still fashioned a 1.51 goals-against average and a.950 save percentage so far in the six games against San Jose, according to

One area that Sutter wanted the Kings to improve on for Game 7 was penalties. Los Angeles was whistled for five minors on Sunday, which resulted in four San Jose power plays and Thornton's game-opening goal. The team scoring the first goal also won for the sixth time in the series, so getting the opener on Tuesday will prove to be crucial if that trend continues.

The Kings, however, don't seem to be too fazed entering Tuesday's do-or-d...

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