The Los Angeles Kings won their sixth straight Thursday, shocking the San Jose Sharks with two goals 22 seconds apart -- in the final two minutes, no less -- to turn a 3-2 deficit into a 4-3 victory in Game 2.
Right up until the last 120 seconds of this one, the story was the San Jose Sharks and their impressive comeback. After going down two goals early in the second, San Jose refused to quit, storming back taking their first lead of the night midway through the third.
But then, 139 seconds from returning to San Jose with the series knotted at one, Marc-Edouard Vlasic turned a 5-on-4 penalty-kill situation into a 5-on-3 by putting the puck over the glass.
It was inadvertent -- they always are with this stupid penalty -- but there was no arguing the infuriating rule, and Vlasic was forced to watch his team's fortunes turn on a dime from the penalty box.
When he went in, the Sharks were up by a goal. He was released 58 seconds later, his team now down by a goal. All an incredulous, dismayed Vlasic could do was laugh.
Dustin Brown scored first, fighting for position in front and pouncing on a loose puck to tie the game.
That was a gut-punch for the Sharks. But the knockout blow came off the ensuing faceoff, when Tyler Toffoli led a Kings rush into the zone and fired a shot on Antti Niemi, who kicked the rebound right to Trevor Lewis.
The Sharks know all too well the trouble they're in. They stole Game 2 from the Vancouver Canucks in a similar fashion in Round 1, although they needed overtime to finish the job. Two games later, the Canucks were golfing.
It's not all over, of course. The Kings themselves are in the second round after dropping their first two on the road.
But the Sharks probably aren't thinking much about the Kings' recent past. Not when their own playoff history is checkered with collapses not unlike this. Their Round 1 performance had everyone, most of all themselves, thinking they were beyond that. But a loss like this brings it all right back.
Now they head back to San Jose, chased by their demons. Can the Sharks find a way to overcome this?