On Sunday, the Anaheim Ducks came from behind to defeat the Dallas Stars in Game 6 to punch their ticket to the second round of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Who will the Ducks meet next?
We’ll find out tonight.
Despite falling behind 3-0, the Los Angeles Kings stunningly forced a Game 7 after routing the San Jose Sharks in Game 6 on Monday night. Only three teams in NHL history have come back from a 3-0 deficit. Most recently, the Philadelphia Flyers did it to the Boston Bruins in the 2010 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Game 7 between the Sharks and Kings is tonight at 7:00 p.m. in San Jose.
Regardless who moves on to face Anaheim, the Ducks will stay in the state of California for their second round match up. Anaheim and Los Angeles have never met in the postseason while the Ducks and Sharks have met once. Back in the 2009 Stanley Cup Playoffs, the Ducks defeated the President’s Trophy winning Sharks in six games.
Either way, the Ducks will be in for a battle regardless of their regular season success against both clubs. The Ducks finished 4-0-1 over the Kings while playing near .500 hockey against the Sharks with a 2-2-1 record.
If you compare the Sharks and Kings in their first round series, the team stats look eerily similar.
One team is boiling hot with three straight wins. The other is collapsing rapidly.
Who can the boiling hot team thank for their turnaround?
The American netminder has been sparkling since struggling in the first three games of the series. His stats from the beginning of the series to now have improved dramatically.
Jonathan Quick First Round Stats
|Game 1||5||.821||6-3 Sharks|
|Game 2||7||.825||7-2 Sharks|
|Game 3||4||.900||4-3 OT Sharks|
|Game 4||3||.923||6-3 Kings|
|Game 5||0||1.000||3-0 Kings|
|Game 6||1||.962||4-1 Kings|
With Quick back on his game, Sharks goalie Antti Niemi will have to find his groove for San Jose to avoid an embarrassing exit from the postseason.
Niemi and rookie goalie Alex Stalock have both had cracks at shutting down the Kings’ offense, but both have failed during the Sharks’ three game losing streak.
It was announced earlier today that Niemi will get the nod between the pipes for the Sharks. In order for San Jose to have a chance tonight, Niemi must play up to his ability.
We know Quick can steal a game and we’ve seen Niemi do it before too. But if there was ever a time for Niemi to “turn it on,” it’s tonight.
Regardless, one team will be celebrating tonight after a hard-fought series between Northern California and Southern California.
What does the winner get as a reward?
A date with the No. 1 team in the Western Conference: the Anaheim Ducks.
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