The San Jose Sharks and Los Angeles Kings are set to do battle in Game 7 tonight at the Staples Centre.
San Jose was able to stave off elimination on Sunday by defeating Los Angeles 2-1 at home. The Sharks improved to 5-0 at home in the playoffs with the Game 6 victory. After a first round sweep of the Canucks the Sharks have been pushed to the brink by the Kings in this second round series.
There has not been too many goals in this series because of the outstanding goaltending of Jonathan Quick and Antti Niemi. Quick has posted a 1.51 GAA, .950 SV% and two shutouts in this series. Niemi has been almost as good as Quick posting a 1.83 GAA and .929 SV% though the first six games.
However none of that really matters as we head into Game 7, because is their anything more exciting than a Game 7 for a fan of either of these teams? It is a one game crapshoot where anything can happen. Throw all the numbers out of the window, it is cliche time. According to NHL.com ten of the 20 Shark players they’re expected to dress tonight have combined to appear in 30 Game 7s, including the 10 for Gomez. The Kings have eight guys in the lineup that have played in a combined 16 Game 7s.
Players to watch in Game 7:
Los Angeles Kings – Mike Richards
Both teams have a lot of talent and can roll all four lines with success, but in Game 7 you need your start players to show up and that is what the Kings need from Richards. He leads all players in this series with five points (2 G – 3 A) in six games. Richards is tied for 12th in playoff scoring with 10 points (2 G – 8 A)
San Jose Sharks – Antti Niemi
Niemi is the main reason the Sharks are in the position they are in right now and they will need him to be at his very best tonight. He does not have the prettiest style of play but he gets the job done. For Sharks fans and players it is not going to matter how it looks tonight, as long as the puck does not cross that red line.