The San Jose Sharks and the Los Angeles Kings squared off Tuesday in game seven for the right to go to the National Hockey League’s Western Conference Finals. To put it simply the Sharks were subdued by the Kings.
The Kings took a 2-0 lead in the second period on goals by Kings forward Justin Williams. However, the Sharks made it a game as they closed the gap by one with a goal early in the third period by Sharks defenseman Dan Boyle. However, the Sharks just couldn’t get that second goal to tie the game.
According to ESPN, Williams believes his solid playing comes from the fact that they won last year’s Stanley Cup.
“It comes from the hunger of winning one and having that drive for another one,” Williams said. “You don’t want anyone else to raise the Cup but you. I certainly enjoy pressure situations. I know everyone in this dressing room does. We pride ourselves on being a team that, push comes to shove, we’re going to get it done. We’ve been through it before, and we know we can do it.”
According to the Los Angeles Times, Williams has nine points, five of which are goals in four career game sevens. His solid play in his four game sevens had one reporter suggest the nickname Mr. Game Seven, which he seemed a little bit embarrassed by.
“I’m going to have to play a few more Game sevens and have a little more success to get that name,” Williams said.
The Kings are undoubtedly happy that they advanced to the Western Conference Finals. Even though the Sharks were subdued by the Kings, some Kings players like goalie Jonathan Quick are looking at their ultimate goal and understand they aren’t there yet.
“We’re only halfway up the mountain,” Jonathan Quick said.
It was Quick that sealed the victory for the Kings as his solid play earned him the second star on the night. His best save of the night came on a shot by Sharks forward Joe Pavelski with a little more than five minutes remaining. Kings defenseman Rob Scuderi is thankful for quick being back there .
“We had a couple guys going up to block the shot, someone fell down. I know I went out to block a shot and of course the rebound goes to Pavelski,” Scuderi said. “You’re trying your hardest to get back, but you’re thinking the worst and then he comes up with the save and, ‘Geez, thank God that guy is there.’”
Obviously, things are magnified in game sevens as one mistake can lead your team to being sent home. So, with only a one goal lead it’s not surprising that Williams felt at times the clock was going backwards.
“I feel like the clock was running backward sometimes,” Williams said. “You’ve gotta keep thinking, ‘Five more shifts, four more shifts, three more shifts.’ And focus on the next one.”
The Kings will face the winner of Wednesday night’s game seven between the Chicago Black Hawks and the Detroit Redwings. If the Redwings were to win tonight they would host game one of the Western Conference Finals. However, if the Blackhawks win then they would have to travel to Chicago for game one.
The Sharks being subdued by the Kings mean that both NHL Conference Finals will have recent Stanley Cup winners.