SAN JOSE, Calif. — A Game 7 win for a franchise haunted by playoff disappointments can help silence the skeptics. But the Sharks know they have plenty more work to do before ending all those questions about their past.
The Sharks took another big step toward achieving that with a dominant 5-0 win over the Predators in Game 7 of their Western Conference semifinal to make their first West final in five years.
"There will be doubters until we go all the way," said Logan Couture, who had a goal and two assists in Game 7 to set a franchise record with 11 points in the series.
San Jose opens the West final Sunday against the Blues.
Though the Sharks have been one of the most successful regular-season teams for more than a decade, they are still seeking their first trip to the Stanley Cup final. They had conference final losses in 2004, '10 and '11. Then came crushing seven-game defeats to the Kings in '13 and '14. The last of those came after San Jose took a 3-0 series lead and left a cloud over the franchise for an entire season as the Sharks missed the playoffs in 2015.
Around the league: The Kings and coach Darryl Sutter agreed to a contract extension that reports said is for three years. Sutter, who has led the Kings to two Stanley Cup championships, had a deal that expired July 1. … Kevin Stevens, who joined Mario Lemieux and Jaromir Jagr in leading the Penguins to Stanley Cup titles in 1991 and '92, was charged in federal court in Massachusetts with conspiring to sell the painkiller oxycodone. Stevens, 51, and another man, Christopher Alonardo, will be held until a detention hearing Tuesday. Stevens's attorney said his client remains wracked by "injuries, pain, and other challenges" and will contest the charges.