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Failures on power play contribute to Sharks' demise

by Eric Gilmore

SAN JOSE -- The San Jose Sharks thought they had solved their season-long power problems after they bolted to a 3-0 lead in their Western Conference First Round series against the Los Angeles Kings.

They scored a power play in each of those victories and again in a 6-3 loss in Game 4. But over the final three games of what proved to be an epic collapse against the Kings, the Sharks went 0-for-15 on the power play.

The Sharks saved the worst for last. They went 0-for 6 on the power play Wednesday night in a 5-1 loss to the Kings in Game 7 at SAP Center. Four of those power plays came in the second period when the game and series were still up for grabs.

"The power play didn't get it done," Sharks defenseman Dan Boyle said. "It certainly won us same games early in the series and we had some chances. But if you don't put the puck in the net, it doesn't matter how many chances you get."

The Sharks had 14 shots in 11:29 of power-play time in Game 7.

"We were able to draw some penalties," forward Logan Couture said. "The guys who go out on the power play are our go-to guys and we didn't produce. We didn't produce for the last five games, or four games, whatever it was. Their guys did. That was the difference."

The Sharks typically have one of the NHL's most lethal power plays, but they struggled with the man advantage most of the season. San Jose finished 20th on the power play, converting on 17.2 percent of their opportunities.

They went 4-for-17 on the power play over the first four games before Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick clamped down. Quick, of course, had a lot to do with the Sharks' power-play problems in Game 7.

On San Jose's second power play of the game, Quick robbed Patrick Marleau of a goal. Joe Pavelski fired a shot, and the rebound came to Marleau at the right of the crease. He settled the puck with a skate and lifted the puck toward the goal, but Quick snared it with his glove at the right post. After a video review to see if the puck had crossed the goal line, the call stood.

"When they started reviewing it I thought I might have had a shot, but I didn't see it come down until the last second until I kicked it out to my stick," Marleau said. "He made a really good save on that."

The Kings had three power plays in Game 7, but they scored once with the man advantage on Drew Doughty's only goal of the series, which tied the score 1-1 at 4:57 of the second period. After going 0-for-4 on the power play in the first two games, the Kings went 6-for-20 over the final five.

"Special teams I think went in their favor the last few games," Sharks defenseman Brad Stuart said. "That was the difference. They held us down on the power play and they were able to score some goals on their power play. We just couldn't create enough offense to make up for that."

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