Saturday, January 20, 2018
Sports

Kings beat Sharks in Game 7

LOS ANGELES — Justin Williams scored twice in the second period, and the Kings reached the Western Conference final with a 2-1 victory over the Sharks in Game 7 on Tuesday night.

Jonathan Quick had 25 saves for Los Angeles as the defending Stanley Cup champions finished this series with their 14th consecutive home victory over the past two months, including seven straight in the postseason.

The home team won all seven games in this thrilling California rivalry.

Former Lightning defenseman Dan Boyle scored early in the third and Antti Niemi stopped 16 shots for the Sharks, who fell just short of their third trip to the conference final in four years.

Los Angeles has won eight straight home playoff games dating to last season's Cup clincher, but this one might have been the toughest. San Jose pressed the action throughout the third.

Williams scored on a power-play tap-in early in the second, putting the fifth-seeded Kings on top to stay. He did it again 2:57 later, taking a cross-ice pass from Anze Kopitar and beating Niemi from short range on a one-timer.

The wing had an eight-game goal drought coming in, but doubled his goal output in this season's payoffs in one game. The two-time Cup winner has a knack for Game 7 heroics, with nine points in four career appearances in the decisive game.

Quick reprised his Conn Smythe Trophy form from last year, finishing the seven-game series by allowing just 10 goals. He stopped just 12 shots in the first two periods combined but 13 in the third.

Last year the Kings, as the No. 8 seed, never faced an elimination game on their way to the title. The Sharks, seeded sixth, have made the playoffs in 16 of their 21 seasons of existence but have made the West final just twice and have yet to win it.

Ready for finale: The last act of a seesaw series between longtime Original Six rivals is tonight, when Chicago hosts Detroit in Game 7 of the West semifinals.

Need another wrinkle? This is their last series as conference rivals, as Detroit moves to the Eastern Conference next season after the league's realignment.

"It's about what competition is all about," Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said. "If you're going to continue to play, you got to be successful in the game. You play to play again. … Anytime you go to Game 7, it's been a heck of a series."

Avs introduce Roy: New Avalanche coach and Hall-of-Fame goaltender Patrick Roy said the team's offer was too good to turn down a second time. Roy said four years ago he wasn't ready, but now he's eager for his first NHL coaching job, and to have a say in hockey-related decisions. "I was afraid in 2009, that maybe I missed one of best opportunities of my life," Roy said at his introductory news conference. "Here I am in 2013, same opportunity. I truly feel that sometimes, the biggest mistake we're making as a coach is you want to go too fast." Roy and new team president Joe Sakic won two Stanley Cups together as players with Colorado, in 1996 and 2001.

Kings0202
Sharks0011

First PeriodNone. PenaltiesThornton, SJ (high-sticking), 12:52; Carter, LA (high-sticking), 13:13.

Second Period1, Los Angeles, Williams 3 (Voynov, Doughty), 4:11 (pp). 2, Los Angeles, Williams 4 (Kopitar, Voynov), 7:08. PenaltiesBurns, SJ (interference), 2:46; Kearns, SJ (tripping), 7:44; Muzzin, LA (interference), 9:01.

Third Period3, San Jose, Boyle 3 (Pavelski), 5:26. PenaltiesBurish, SJ (goaltender interference), 2:03; Quick, LA, served by King (diving), 2:03. Shots on GoalSan Jose 5-7-14—26. Los Angeles 3-11-4—18. Power-play opportunitiesSan Jose 0 of 2; Los Angeles 1 of 3. GoaliesSan Jose, Niemi 7-4-0 (18 shots-16 saves). Los Angeles, Quick 8-5-0 (26-25). A18,593 (18,118). T2:28. Referees—Brad Watson, Wes McCauley. LinesmenJay Sharrers, Pierre Racicot.

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