By John Vogl
After three games of their first-round series, it looked like this could finally be the year for the playoff-troubled San Jose Sharks. Instead, they just added to their history of misery.
Los Angeles roared back with four straight wins, eliminating the Sharks on Wednesday night with a 5-1 rout. The Kings became the fourth team in history to win a series after losing the first three games, joining the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1942, New York Islanders in 1975 and Philadelphia Flyers in 2010.
"There's been a lot of low points, but yeah this is definitely one of them, being up 3-0," Sharks forward Patrick Marleau said. "You don't usually agree with [the critics], but then you do something like this and it's not easy to take, you know?"
The Kings will play their highway rival, the Anaheim Ducks, in the second round.
"I think it is great for Southern California hockey to finally have this matchup," Kings captain Dustin Brown said. "It will be fun."
The Kings were one of three Game Seven victors:
*The New York Rangers held off Philadelphia to earn a 2-1 victory. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, they are the first team in NHL history to win a Game Seven in the opening round for three straight years. The Rangers beat the Washington Capitals in 2013 and the Ottawa Senators in 2012.
The Rangers will play Pittsburgh in the second round.
*Forward Nino Niederreiter scored in overtime for Minnesota, lifting the Wild to a 5-4 victory and series win over Colorado. The Wild erased four one-goal deficits.
"That's when you have to show up, the big stage," said Niederreiter. "I'm very lucky to be able to do it."
Minnesota will next play Chicago.