A few more takeaways before the Kings move on -- not to the second round, but to a long spring and summer of off-season issues after a first-round loss to San Jose.
Inability to establish a lead
Too often in the series, the Kings gave up goals early. In five games, they ended up leading for just four minutes and two seconds of play.
Psychologically, it meant that just about every night they were chasing the game instead of playing with the lead, something they usually do quite well.
Defensive shortcomings loomed large
The Kings were already thin on the back end. Those holes were exposed even more when Alec Martinez couldn’t make it through Game 1 and was out the rest of the series.
It turned out he was dealing with an injured groin, suffered late in the regular season.
“You can’t use injuries as an excuse,” Kings Coach Darryl Sutter said. “But when you’re evenly matched, when you look at it, they [the Sharks] get [Marc-Edouard] Vlasic back and we lose Marty [Alec Martinez] you’re losing the top end of your defense.”
Demons sent packing
Sharks Coach Peter DeBoer, of course, wasn’t around when the Kings staged a historic comeback against San Jose in 2014, winning the series after losing the first three games.
“I haven’t been around here for some of the things that have gone on in the past,” DeBoer said. “I’m sure, for some of the guys, they felt like they exorcised some demons tonight.”
The Sharks’ Logan Couture had insisted, as recently as Friday’s morning skate, that 2014 was “put to rest” once the season ended. That didn’t sound like the case after the Sharks clinched this series.
He told reporters that he had viewed some of the post-2014 comments from the Kings as “disrespectful,” adding, “so it was nice to stick it back to them and beat them in this series.”
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