SAN JOSE -- The San Jose Sharks ended the Western Conference First Round series against the Los Angeles Kings with a 6-3 win in Game 5 at Staples Center on Friday.
San Jose won the best-of-7 series 4-1. It lost seven-game series to Los Angeles in the 2013 and 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
What we learned: These Sharks are a much more resilient bunch than their predecessors. There were ample opportunities to fold, but San Jose never did in a series with the first four games decided by one goal each. The epitome of their resiliency came in this game, when the Sharks built a 3-0 lead during the first 26 minutes only to surrender it all in a span of 8:52 in the second period. The Sharks came out in the third period -- on the road, in a hostile building, with past playoff collapses weighing on them -- and not only survived, but prospered thanks to the winning goal by right wing Joonas Donskoi and an insurance goal by captain Joe Pavelski before Melker Karlsson scored into an empty net.
It may not have been as easy as it appeared it might be earlier in the night, but, in the end, it may have been more satisfying.
What this means for the Sharks: They are moving on to the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time since 2013, where they will play the winner of the first-round series between the Anaheim Ducks and Nashville Predators (tied 2-2). The Sharks will certainly be on a high. Their power play scored five goals in the first round and they received depth scoring for the first time in the series when Donskoi, Chris Tierney and Matt Nieto each scored his first goal of the playoffs Friday. Goaltender Martin Jones won his first NHL playoff series as a starter and frustrated the Kings for long stretches.
Video: SJS@LAK, Gm5: Pavelski pads the Sharks' lead in 3rd
What this means for the Kings: Massive disappointment. They only got to their game for short stretches throughout the series, yet each of their losses came by a single goal. The Kings lost the special-teams battle, surrendering five power-play goals in as many games. By their own account, they took too many penalties through undisciplined play and could not routinely solve a young goalie starting his first playoff series. The Kings saw what their 'A' game looked like in the third period of Game 4 and the second half of the second period in Game 5. They scored five goals during those stretches; they scored five goals in the rest of the series. There was little to differentiate these rivals after five games, which likely makes elimination an even harder pill to swallow.
Key moment: Sharks forward Patrick Marleau, who scored the game-winner in Game 4 with a power-play goal early in the third period, had a penalty shot at 5:31 of the second period Friday when he was hooked by Jake Muzzin on a breakaway. Goaltender Jonathan Quick denied Marleau's attempt, and the Kings started their comeback 2:13 later when center Anze Kopitar scored a goal that pinballed off Dwight King and Kopitar's shin pad before it eluded Jones.
Video: SJS@LAK: Kopitar puts the Kings on the board in 2nd
Unsung player of the game: Sharks forward Joel Ward. Friday morning, coach Pete DeBoer talked about the offseason free agent acquisition and how it was meant to pay dividends in the playoffs. It did in Game 5. Ward had another heavy game as the puck retriever on the second line; he absorbed several big hits to make plays and dished out a few of his own. But it was his pass across the crease onto the stick of Nieto for San Jose's third goal that was Ward's signature play of the night.
What's next: Rest for the Sharks, who won't play again until next week with the Predators and Ducks in a race for two more wins in their series. Game 5 is Saturday in Anaheim, Game 6 will be Monday in Nashville, and Game 7, if necessary, will be on Wednesday in Anaheim.