After tonight’s Game 7 at Staples Center we will know which team from California will represent the state in the Western Conference Finals against an Original Six team (Chicago or Detroit).
And while the Kings-Sharks matchup is the first Game 7 between the franchises (who also met in the first round of the 2011 playoffs), it’s not the first Game 7 between the Kings and a Northern California NHL team.
That happened in April of 1969, when the Kings rallied from a 3-2 series deficit to defeat the California/Oakland Seals, 5-3 in Oakland in Game 7.
The Kings won that series despite being cumulatively outscored, 25-23. The key to LA’s clinching victory probably was its ability to kill penalties, including a two-man advantage during the first period.
“Our inability to score on those first period power plays, especially the one where we had a two-man advantage hurt badly,” Seals coach Fred Glover told the Los Angeles Times.
Lowell McDonald stole the puck from Norm Ferguson to score what proved to be the winning goal at 7:37 of the third period. McDonald earlier had set up two first-period goals by Ted Irvine (father of professional wrestler Chris Jericho).
The victory sent the Kings into a series against the St. Louis Blues, who interestingly enough are the team the current Kings defeated in the first round this season in six games. Last season’s Cup winner knocked out the Blues in five games in the second round.
Note: The historical research is part of my upcoming book on the history of hockey in California, Palm Trees and Frozen Ponds.