The San Jose Sharks will take another crack at eliminating the LA Kings tonight in their quarterfinals series in Game 6 at 7:00 p.m. (PST) at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. Please note all games will be carried LIVE locally on CSNCA-HD / 98.5-102.1 FM KFOX and the Sharks Radio Network.
On each game day, sjsharks.com will reveal a “Sharks SPARK”, as we will highlight a player we expect to be the Sharks difference maker in that evening’s game. – the player to lead the Sharks to the promise land (WIN!) that night.
With the use of stats, trends, quotes and instinct we will look into the future (that evening’s game) and predict the score along with the Sharks player that provides the winning SPARK! We welcome your predictions as well… so look into your crystal ball, magic eight ball, ask your pet, or look into the stars and make your prediction as to which player with SPARK the Sharks to victory in Game 6 over the Kings!
LOOKING BACK: (PAST SPARK NOMINATIONS)
Game 1 at San Jose – PAVELSKI
Pavelski got things rolling in Game 1 for the Sharks as he had the primary assist on the first goal of the series scored by Joe Thornton. Pavs finished with an assist, +1, 2nd on the club with six hits, and won 62% of his face-offs in 19:34 of ice time in the Sharks 6-3 victory over the Kings in Game 1.
Game 2 at San Jose – BURNS
The Sharks were down 2-0 after twenty minutes of play in Game 2. On the ice for the opening face-off in the second period, Burns fired two quality shots on Quick and threw a booming check on Drew Doughty in the first 20 seconds to get the SAP Center buzzing at the start of the middle frame. The Sharks ended up scoring seven consecutive goals for a 7-2 win over the Kings. #88 finished 2nd on the club with six hits, 2nd with two take aways, fired four shots on goal, received a matching roughing minor, and took the ice for 18:55 of action in the Game 2 victory.
Game 3 at Kings – NIETO
The Staples Center crowd was rocking after Marian Gaborik scored a beautiful goal at 7:59 of the second period to put the Kings ahead 2-1 – but then there was a Sharks SPARK. Rookie Matt Nieto deflected a Jason Demers shot past Jonathan Quick just 1:18 later to tie the score at 2-2 and swing the momentum back in favor of San Jose. Nieto finished Game 3 with his first playoff goal, two shots, three hits, and one blocked shot in 16:42 of ice time to SPARK the Sharks to a 4-3 win.
Game 4 at Kings – NIEMI
We knew the Kings would not go down without a fight. Antti Niemi made 21 saves on 26 shots in 40:03 of action in the Kings 6-3 win in Game 4 at the Staples Center. LA was buzzing throughout the game and Antti Niemi was pulled in favor of Alex Stalock after Marian Gaborik scored his 2nd goal of the game at 34 seconds of the third period to put the Kings ahead 5-2. The Kings were just too much to handle in the first elimination game of the series.
Game 5 at San Jose – THORNTON
Jumbo fired a team high four shots and was 54% in the faceoff circle in 18:45 of ice time in the Sharks 3-0 loss in Game 5 at the SAP Center. The Kings outshot the Sharks 41-30 and had a 3-0 lead through 20:22 before Antti Niemi was pulled in favor of Alex Stalock. If one thing was clear after this game; that the Kings are not going away quietly and the Sharks better be ready in Game 6.
- The Sharks rookie net minder went 12-5-2 with a 1.87 GAA and a .932 save % in the regular season.
- Finished 9th in the NHL in goals against average (1.87) and was the Sharks nominee for the 2013-14 Bill Masterson Trophy.
- Set a new Sharks record for longest shutout streak, posting 178:55 scoreless play from Jan 5’s third period at Chicago to Jan 27’s second period vs. LA.
- Stopped 12 of 13 shootout attempts this season (.923%).
- Set an AHL (American Hockey League) rookie record, surpassing Corey Hirsch with 39 wins with the Worcester Sharks in 2009-10.
- Is the Worcester Sharks franchise leader with 76 career wins.
- Has not allowed a goal by making 26 saves in 57:02 of ice time in the series vs. the Kings. – his 1st two NHL Stanley Cup appearances both in relief in Games 4 and 5.
TRENDS / COININCIDENCES??
Although a rookie, Stalock has a history to SPARKING the Sharks to victory – and it started from his 1st ever NHL appearance after he replaced Antti Niemi with the Sharks trailing 3-0 to the Phoenix Coyotes on Feb 1, 2011 – Al made nine saves as the Sharks won the game 5-3 en route to a 5-3 win. – Stalock’s 1st NHL victory.
It was LA Kings forward Dwight King (as a member of the Manchester Monarchs) that stepped on the back of the leg of Alex Stalock in Worcester on Feb 4 at the DCU Center – the injury forced Stalock to miss almost a full year of play. – Stalock would love to be the reason why Dwight and the Kings have an early exit to the off season!
Sharks head coach Todd McLellan after the Game 5 loss:
"I don't have an explanation for that. (on the sloppy play). I thought we were slow. Simply put we were slow. We didn't have legs and we didn't execute well, which made us even slower. We had poor puck support, and that made us slow."
TRANSLATION – the Sharks will be a lot FASTER in Game 6 – they will have to be. Stalock is one of the best puck moving goaltenders in the NHL – watch #32 speed up the Sharks out of the zone tonight.
Dan Boyle after the Game 5 loss in SJ:
"We didn't win the game. Listen man, [the media] do what you want to dissect it. We didn't win the game. You can blame a lot of different things, but we've got to turn the page and move on. Winning teams do that, and we will do that."
TRANSLATION – Dan Boyle expects the Sharks to be better in Game 6… much better!
Alex Stalock after Game 5:
“Tried to wake up the bench and get things going (about his call to the net early in the 2nd period) ….shake things up a little bit. Every time you get in as a goalie your job is to stop every shot and give your team a chance.”
TRANSLATION – Al is more than ready to make his first Stanley Cup playoffs start tonight!
GAME 6 PREDICTION:
Alex Stalock will do his part to SPARK the Sharks to a series clinching victory in Game 6 in LA – but he will not be able to do it himself – it will have to be a complete team effort to steal another game at the Staples Center in this series. The Sharks will be fast, tenacious, and play with a purpose – and if there are any breakdowns – Stalock will hold down the fort between the pipes. Al will rely on his experience from Game 3 and 4 as well as his 11 Calder Cup playoff games with the Worcester Sharks in 2010 to provide the SPARK needed to send San Jose into round 2 for a date with the Ducks!
WHO IS YOUR GAME 6 SPARK?
What is your prediction for Game 6? Who do you think will SPARK the Sharks to a Game 6 victory over the Kings? Join the conversation below…. #SharksSparkPrediction