Los Angeles Kings
Joe Thornton got San Jose off to a fast start with a power-play goal in the first period and TJ Galiardi added a goal in the second to help the Sharks force a decisive seventh game.
For the first time in two years, the Kings are one game away from playoff elimination. They never even faced a potential elimination game during their 16-4 rampage to the Cup last year, but the Sharks have pushed them to the brink while moving one win away from their third trip to the Western Conference finals in four years.
The San Jose Sharks are glad to be returning home. Game 6 is Sunday night. The home team has won the first five games of the series.
Los Angeles can’t match the Sharks’ top-end talent or entertainment value, but the champs won the pivotal Game 5 on Thursday night with a fundamentally sound effort led by that sturdy defense.
Another playoff series for the San Jose Sharks, another round of diving accusations. As you would expect, those accusations made it to the L.A. Kings and on Thursday after the morning skate, the Kings had their retort.
Kings goalie Jonathan Quick sometimes seems to be the only obstacle between San Jose and the Western Conference finals while the Sharks dominate much of their 2-2 series with the defending Stanley Cup champions.
The Sharks players say they’re putting their Game 2 collapse behind them and turning their focus to defending home ice the next two games so they can tie their second-round series with the Kings.
Sharks forward Raffi Torres was suspended for the rest of San Jose’s second-round playoff series against Los Angeles on Thursday for an illegal check to the head of Kings forward Jarret Stoll during the opener.
Raffi Torres spent the past year in Phoenix and San Jose trying to shake his reputation as a dangerous player. His hit on Los Angeles center Jarret Stoll might have erased much of that work and put both players’ postseason futures in doubt.
Saturday night’s regular-season finale may not be the final meeting between the Los Angeles Kings and San Jose Sharks depending on certain postseason scenarios.