NHL

Sharks turn to Stalock to try to get past desperate Kings

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The Sports Network
4/28/2014 10:47:00 AM
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The Los Angeles Kings will try to fight off elimination again and forge a tie in their Western Conference first round series when they host the San Jose Sharks in Game 6.

The Sharks, who had a 3-0 series lead only to see the Kings battle back with two wins, will turn to Alex Stalock in goal. Stalock will be making his first career playoff start. 

Sharks goaltender Antti Niemi was pulled for the second straight game after allowing three goals on 19 shots. Stalock took over early in the second and stopped all 22 shots he faced in relief for the Sharks, who finished 0- for-5 on the power play.

"They weren't going to roll over and die," Sharks defenseman Dan Boyle said of the Kings. "They played well. We just have to go out there and win a game."

The Sharks are hoping for a repeat of the Game 3 result. San Jose had lost eight straight in Los Angeles before posting that win 4-3 overtime win last Tuesday.

A win tonight will get San Jose into the second round for the fourth time in five seasons. A loss means the Sharks will host a decisive Game 7 on Wednesday at SAP Center.

The winner of this series will face Anaheim in the second round. The Ducks eliminated Dallas in six games with a road comeback win on Sunday night.

The Sharks will be without defenceman Marc-Edouard Vlasic tonight after he left Saturday's game with an upper-body injury following a collision with L.A. forward Jarret Stoll. Vlasic, who helped Team Canada win gold at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, did not practice on Sunday.

Vlasic averaged 20 minutes, 42 seconds of ice time for San Jose in 81 regular- season games. With Vlasic out, the Sharks expect to insert defenceman Matt Irwin into the lineup.

Los Angeles dropped the first three games of this set and are trying to become only the fourth team in NHL history to win a best-of-seven series after trailing 3-0. The 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs, 1975 New York Islanders and 2010 Philadelphia Flyers are the only clubs to have pulled off the monumental comeback.

If L.A. wins Monday it will become only the ninth team in NHL history to even force a Game 7 after falling behind three games to none.

Los Angeles does have a few players on its roster that were part of a 3-0 playoff comeback. Kings forwards Jeff Carter and Mike Richards were both members of the 2010 Flyers team that stormed back to beat Boston in the conference semifinals after losing the first three games. Carter, however, missed that historic series with a broken foot before returning later in the playoffs to help Philadelphia make a surprise run to the Cup Finals.

The Kings were outscored 17-8 by the Sharks in losing the first three games of this series, but L.A. answered with a 6-3 home win on Thursday before notching a 3-0 triumph Saturday in San Jose.

Jonathan Quick stopped 30 shots to secure his eighth career postseason shutout and help the Kings stay alive.

After avoiding a sweep with a lopsided win in Game 4, the Kings scored twice in the first period Saturday and added another marker 22 seconds into the second before leaving the rest to their veteran netminder.

Quick was up to the task, posting 24 of his 30 saves over the final 40 minutes to force tonight's game at the Staples Center.

Anze Kopitar, Tyler Toffoli and Carter each registered a goal for the Kings, who had lost their last five playoff games in San Jose before ending the slide Saturday.

"We gave ourselves a chance to play another game," Kopitar remarked. "It's a Game 7, obviously, for us again. We're going to enjoy this one tonight and start getting ready tomorrow."

Los Angeles hasn't been eliminated in the opening round since 2011, when San Jose beat them in six games.

Alex Stalock (Photo: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

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(Photo: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Game Notes
team scoring first is 4-1 in series
8 teams have forced a game 7 when trailing 3-0
Series PP: SJ 4/22, LAK 4/17
LAK:
won 2 straight, outscoring SJ 9-3, 2/9 on PP
lost 4 straight series they have trailed 3-2
11-1-1 last 13 games at home vs SJ (reg+post)
Carter (2G, 3A), Kopitar (1G, 4A) have PTS in all 5 games
Quick stopped 66 of 69 shots last 2 games
SJ:
won 5 straight series they have led 3-2
3GF past 2 games, 1/9 on PP (17G in first 3 games)
1-5 past 6 road playoff games (all vs LAK), 11GF (shutout twice)
Marleau (1G, 3A) in 2GP in LA
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