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San Jose Sharks Eliminate LA Kings; Flyers-Sabres And Canucks-Blackhawks End Tonight.

Granted, it was just an overtime goal in a game six of a first round playoff series, but at least one little monkey hopped off of Joe Thornton’s back with his game winning goal against the Los Angeles Kings. The Sharks need to try to shake the label of “playoff choker,” as does Thornton, and the captain took a step forward in that direction. It was a terribly hard-fought series for both teams, with three of the Sharks’ four victories decided in overtime. LA goaltender Jonathan Quick stopped 31 of 35 shots in the loss, while San Jose netminder Antti Niemi stopped 26 of 29.

Tonight’s game seven between the Philadelphia Flyers and the Buffalo Sabres will probably be an animosity filled evening, as Philly captain Mike Richards will be playing. Richards elbowed Tim Connolly in game six, with no suspension for a hit that knocked Connolly out of the series. Needless to say Buffalo’s upset about that, especially Ryan Miller. AS miller said in a post-game press conference Sunday afternoon:

“If Mike Richards thinks we’re getting away with murder, I don’t know what he got away with. Mass murder? Are we stepping it up a notch? Unbelievable.”

Yikes – an angry Ryan Miller is a motivated Ryan Miller. Now’s not the best time for the Flyers to be worrying about that, since they’re starting Brian Boucher tonight in net.

The Presidents’ Trophy winning Vancouver Canucks are one loss away from realizing the Presidents’ Trophy curse – being knocked out in the first round. After leaping up to a commanding three games to none lead on the Chicago Blackhaws, the Canucks and Roberto Luongo allowed the Blackhawks to hop back in the series with dominating play the last three games. “LOLuongo,” as some (mostly Blackhawks fans) have been calling him, will be starting in net.

But the losses couldn’t possibly be because of the goaltender. It’s all part of something bigger… some conspiracy, maybe? Or, perhaps, the defending Cup champions just know what it takes a little bit more than Vancouver does.

Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.