SAN JOSE — When there was every reason to give up, the
When they had every excuse to moan about the
And now they've made history with a 5-1 victory over the perennially underachieving Sharks, winning the series in seven games and setting up a second-round matchup against the
No planes or time zone changes, but a stiff challenge for the Kings, who lost four of their five regular-season games against the Ducks.
"Travel is a lot easier," Kings goaltender
"It's a tough hill," he said after that game, "and we won't go quietly away, that's for sure."
Now, they don't have to go away at all. As only the fourth
Finally, the playoff series fans in Southern California have been waiting for, the first postseason matchup of the Kings and the team that owes its birth in large part to the hockey interest created when
"I think it's great for Southern California hockey to finally have this matchup," said Kings captain
The Kings got this far because they welcomed the pressure that always seems to overwhelm the Sharks, who finished one place and 11 points ahead of them in the
"One and two were a little out of character for us," Quick said of the first two games. "They kind of pushed that upon us. They forced us to make errors and mistakes and you've got to tip your cap to them on that. Games 3, 4, right on through, we got back to what we're used to doing."
So did he, giving up only two goals in the final three games. But he had lots of company.
San Jose's big guns disappeared late in the series, as they usually do.
The Kings had it all along. "That was a great feeling. Like we said from Game 4 on — or even Game 1 really — we believed in ourselves from the first game and even though it went down 3-0 we were never going to give up," Doughty said.
"We kind of sensed going into tonight's game they were going to be a little nervous, they were going to kind of see what was going to happen. I felt they played a good game, but the third period was huge for us."
In winning, the Kings joined the 1942
"This is something I think we're all going to remember for the rest of our lives," Doughty said. "We're not done yet though. We're going to move on. ... That was an unbelievable feeling and great team effort."