The Los Angeles Kings had one final charge in them. Down (appropriately) 3-0 in the second period, they got three straight goals off three very different plays, and it felt like the Kings weren't ready to roll over. In the end, though, the San Jose Sharks once again took advantage of a defense (and, frankly, a goalie) who were a shadow of their regular season selves.
One more time, rank the members of your Kings below:
The San Jose Sharks got it done. For the first time in five years, they got the closing push they needed against LA, and you know what? They deserved it. The Kings started out the third period on equal footing and looked more likely to take the lead than to fall behind, but in a game where the San Jose depth players finally showed up, they were quicker to a loose puck, and Joonas Donskoi took the wind out of LA's sails. Joe Pavelski's softie on Jonathan Quick was a dagger, of course, but it was merely the culmination of five games of "tough sledding" for LA. The Sharks are going to be extremely dangerous in the second round and beyond. Let's see if they can overcome the weight of history.
We'll have a lot more about what went wrong for the Kings in 2015-16, but a lot went right this year, too. Anze Kopitar and Drew Doughty are as good as ever; don't be fooled by this series. Tyler Toffoli scored 31, and he'll be motivated to pot even more next year. Jonathan Quick had a brutal ending to his season, but he broke a few records and repeatedly reminded us that, even if he isn't the best goalie in the NHL, he's still better (and a lot more thrilling to watch) than a lot of other guys in net. Milan Lucic exceeded our expectations. So did Alec Martinez. A few rookies showed promise in limited action, and a few other young guys made noticeable leaps. 3-on-3 overtime provided some breathtaking moments. And the Kings won more games this regular season than they've ever won in a single regular season.
It just didn't end the way we're accustomed to... and the fact that we're accustomed to more means that we've been pretty lucky.
Best of luck to the teams remaining. Recap to come.