By Adrian Dater
You knew this was going seven.
The home team had won every game in this Western Conference semifinal series, so it didn’t seem likely that the defending Stanley Cup champion Kings would win Game 6 on Sunday night in San Jose.
The Sharks’ 2-1 victory was an impressive performance, but now all that home-ice mojo goes back with the Kings to the Staples Center for Game 7 on Tuesday night.
T.J. Galiardi’s second-period goal, a wicked wrister from the slot, proved the game-winner, and continued his story of rejuvenation. The former Avalanche winger was nearly out of the league by the start of the year and he was sometimes a healthy scratch by Sharks’ coach Todd McLellan. But Galiardi started showing more fire late in the season, enough for McLellan to gamble on putting him on a line with star center Joe Thornton.
Galiardi has not disappointed. He still doesn’t score a lot, but he has gotten under the Kings’ skin with sandpaper play in front of the net and in the corners. It’s the same kind of playoff performance he had in 2010 for the Avalanche in their first-round series against the Sharks. Galiardi was a big agitating presence against San Jose then, and he’s found that style of play again.
The Sharks just looked like they wanted this game more than the Kings did. They probably did, in truth. The Kings just seem to let it slide a little too much in road games they don’t have to win. Now, the only thing that can save them is that precious home-ice advantage in a final game. But that’s why you play so hard during the regular season, to have that advantage.
Here are some other observations from Game 6: