If we’ve learned anything from watching hockey this week, it’s this: No lead is safe in the 2013 NHL playoffs.
Three days after the Boston Bruins pulled off a miraculous three-goal Game 7 comeback against the Maple Leafs, the defending champion Los Angeles Kings worked some last-minute magic of their own, scoring two power play goals 22 seconds apart to earn a stunning 4-3 win over the San Jose Sharks.
It’s fair to wonder after this one if the Sharks can recover. The visitors were on the verge of evening up the series, riding three unanswered goals to a 3-2 lead when the thrill ride began. Energetic rookie Tyler Toffoli was hauled down by San Jose’s Brad Stuart while driving the net, drawing a penalty at 17:19 of the third. Seconds later, Marc-Edouard Vlasic joined him in the box after clearing the puck into the crowd, putting the Kings on a five-on-three. And just like that, it was over. Dustin Brown pounced on a rebound of a Mike Richards shot and shoveled it behind Antti Niemi to tie the score. On the next shift, Trevor Lewis drove the net and buried another rebound, this one off a Toffoli shot, to seal the win with just 1:21 remaining.
For Los Angeles, this was a statement game. There’s more than one way the Kings can win.
As for the Sharks? They made a statement, too, only it was less flattering. They were the better team for much of the night. They scored three on Jonathan Quick. But in the end, they let the Kings take it away from them.
And their chance at winning the series may have gone with it.
Here are some more observations from Game 2: