2011 NHL Playoffs: San Jose Sharks Pull out a Tough One

Daniel PetriContributor IApril 26, 2011

LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 25:  Joe Thornton #19 of the San Jose Sharks celebrates after scoring the game winning goal against the Los Angeles Kings in game six of the Western Conference Quarterfinals to advance to the next round of the 2011 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Staples Center on April 25, 2011 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

Sharks fans, back away from the ledge, there is no need to jump. 

The San Jose Sharks overcame a spirited effort by the Los Angeles Kings in Game 6 of the Western Conference Quarter-Finals to win the series four games to two.

In a game that very much was a microcosm of the unpredictability of the series, the Sharks played a near perfect first-period but were stifled by Kings goalie Jonathan Quick who held them scoreless through 20 minutes of hockey.

The second period had the Sharks put on a massive push scoring two goals and putting LA on their heels for much of the period. The third period was owned by the Kings, who pushed back the Sharks and overcame two one-goal deficits to force overtime.

Sharks fans everywhere, at the sight of the Sharks blowing three one-goal leads, thought "here we go again." 

The Sharks were great, then average, then good, then horrific, but in the end they came up big once again as captain Joe Thornton clinched the series by putting a lucky bounce in behind Quick.

The series, much like Game 6, was never easy and at times, it was as if Los Angeles was the No. 2 seed. 

Their third line of Clifford-Richardson-Simmonds did their best to pick up the offense with super-star center Anze Kopitar out for the season; they gave the Sharks fits.

In the end, however, the series, just like Game 6, was about depth. 

The Sharks had it, but the Kings did not.

Three different lines scored for the Sharks consistently, while for the Kings they were scrapping the bottom of the barrel for offense. The Sharks got offense from their defense-men in every game except Game 2, while LA got offense from their defense in Game 2 and very little in every other game. 

It was clear from the outset that the Sharks had the clear advantage in skill and ability; the issue was whether or not the Kings would be able to out work the Sharks skilled forwards. For two of the games, the Kings effort overcame the Sharks still. 

Nevertheless, in the end, the Sharks' skill and effort beat out the Kings' gritty determination.