Los Angeles used a dominant performance from Jonathan Quick to defeat the San Jose Sharks 2-1 in Game 7 and advance to the Western Conference finals.
The third period featured the best offensive attack from the Sharks all game long. That's not an exaggeration: San Jose outshot the Kings 14-4 in the final twenty minutes. Quick was up to the task, but started to show some cracks when Dan Boyle brought the Sharks to within one about five minutes into the period.
And then Quick slammed the door shut for good. The final 15 minutes featured a goaltending clinic by the former Conn Smythe winner. This save on Joe Pavelski with minutes remaining was just ... amazing.
The better goaltender probably wins this. Niemi or Quick?
Boy, that's a tough one. Antti Niemi made several jaw-dropping saves throughout the game, and was essentially the only reason the Sharks hung around until the very end. Quick was just as brilliant, and faced more shots. If I had to pick, I'd probably say Quick was slightly better if only because his saves down the stretch were as impressive as they were clutch. Both netminders deserve praise for their performance in Game 7, though.
Which team's depth players will come up big?
Will the first goal be seventh heaven?
Just like the previous six games, the team that scored first won the game.