The Dallas Stars and the San Jose Sharks both entered Monday night with a chance to put an absolute stranglehold on their first-round series in the 2016 NHL playoffs. Both teams had 2-0 series leads over the Minnesota Wild and the Los Angeles Kings respectively. However, both Dallas and San Jose saw their leads shrink in their best-of-seven series.
In St. Paul, Dallas was involved in a high-scoring affair. Patrick Sharp of the Stars had two quick ones in the first period to help his side jump out to a 2-0 lead. However, after that, the Wild outscored the Stars 5-1 over the remainder of the game. Jason Pominville had two in the effort as the Wild arguably kept their season alive with the come-from-behind victory.
The next game in the series is on Wednesday, and it will again come from St. Paul. Start time is 9:30 pm ET and both teams have to be feeling the pressure in the game. Dallas is the favorite in this series, so if the Wild pull 2-2 even it could cause Dallas players some feelings of inner doubt. Meanwhile, Minnesota can’t afford to go down 3-1 while keeping serious second-round hopes alive.
But where Dallas lost on the road, the Sharks particularly missed a chance to go up 3-0 in their series. San Jose robbed Los Angeles of both games in their opening ones from the Staples Center. That left the Sharks looking fantastic for the second round as they prepared to host Games 3 and 4.
However, Game 3 in San Jose was close as the Kings prevailed in overtime. Tanner Pearson scored his first goal of the playoffs early in the extra session to give his side the victory. Meanwhile, Jonathan Quick had 29 saves for Los Angeles.
The Sharks are a noted playoff underachiever in the NHL, and their history is littered with terrible losses and failed efforts to live up to their potential. A couple years ago they had a 3-0 series lead over the Kings and blew it, a result that merely added to their saga.
The franchise was founded in the early 1990s and so they’ve been around for a quarter century now. During that time, they have no conference championships to their credit despite six division championships. If they squander two road wins to open their series against Los Angeles, it will add another sad chapter in the franchise’s failed efforts. Game 4 of this series will also go on Wednesday night with a 7:30 pm PT start time.
The other series that was active on Monday night involved the Washington Capitals and the Philadelphia Flyers. The Caps won their Game 3 easily 6-1 to go up 3-0 in their series. The Caps can sweep with a win in Game 4, which also plays on Wednesday (7 pm ET).