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Los Angeles Kings fall to San Jose, 2-1, forcing a Game 7

The Kings, who won it all last year without going to a Game 7, face winner-take-all second-round showdown after loss that drops them to 1-5 on road in playoffs.

May 26, 2013|By Lisa Dillman

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SAN JOSE — Their journeys through Vancouver, St. Louis, Phoenix and New Jersey last season were the epitome of relentless efficiency.

Never did the Kings face the ultimate high-wire challenge of a nerve-racking Game 7 in their run to the Stanley Cup. That winner-take-all test: Go forward . . . or go fishing.

They had a chance to send the San Jose Sharks off to The Lake in an elimination game Sunday night. But the battle between the Sharks' survival skills and the Kings' flickering killer instinct resulted in a 2-1 victory by San Jose in Game 6 of their Western Conference semifinal series at HP Pavilion.

With the best-of-seven series tied 3-3, Game 7 is Tuesday at Staples Center — good news for the Kings, who have won their last 13 home games but are 1-5 on the road in these playoffs, 0-3 in this series. This will be the eighth Game 7 the Kings have played in their history. They are 3-4 in Game 7s.

San Jose, which lost Games 1 and 2, has never rallied from an 0-2 deficit to win a playoff series; in fact this is the first time it has forced a Game 7 after dropping the opening two games.

To win Tuesday, the Kings probably will have to correct their proclivity for taking early penalties, which cost them again Sunday.

Three games in this series have been affected by the dreaded delay-of-game penalty. It helped cost the Sharks and defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic in Game 2, and gave San Jose early momentum in Game 3 when Kings defenseman Jake Muzzin got one, leading to the Sharks' first goal.

Sunday, the Kings took three minor penalties in the first five minutes. They killed off the first one, a charging call against Kyle Clifford. But then the Sharks were able to go five on three for 1:46 after Mike Richards went off for hooking and Anze Kopitar shot the puck over the glass for the delay-of-game penalty.

That set the table for center Joe Thornton, who was alone at the right post and scored at 6:09, the Sharks' 10th power-play goal at home in these playoffs.

The Kings' vision of Game 6 probably did not include their top two centers, and two of their better penalty killers, sitting in the penalty box together.

"They won the special-team battles," Kopitar said. "And we took too many penalties again. . . . That's clearly up to me to not fire the puck over the glass."

Said Richards: "I took a penalty and Kopi had an unlucky one . . . plays that probably shouldn't happen."

But they did, and that is an apt illustration of the fine line between winning and losing in this series.

The other Sharks goal came early in the second period from forward T.J. Galiardi, who used Kings defenseman Robyn Regehr as a screen and put a wrist shot between Regehr's legs, beating goalie Jonathan Quick from the right circle.

The Kings' lone goal came from captain Dustin Brown at 13:53 of the second period, cutting the deficit to 2-1. He banked it in off Sharks goalie Antti Niemi from a bad angle for his first goal in four games.

"I didn't think we played well, to be honest," Richards said. ". . . Everything seemed like it was to the outside and we couldn't generate anything. We have to find a way to do that and obviously on Tuesday night, hopefully."

lisa.dillman@latimes.com

Twitter: @reallisa

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