SAN JOSE, Calif. – Anze Kopitar scored the tiebreaking goal late in the second period and Jonathan Quick made 39 saves to cap the Los Angeles Kings’ historic comeback from three games down with a 5-1 victory over the San Jose Sharks in Game 7 of their first-round series Wednesday night.
Drew Doughty, Tyler Toffoli, Dustin Brown and Tanner Pearson also scored for the Kings, who became the fourth NHL team to win a best-of-seven series after losing the first three games.
The Kings joined Toronto (1942), the New York Islanders (1975) and Philadelphia (2010) as the only teams to complete that comeback and now will get another California showdown in the second-round with the first Freeway Playoff against the Anaheim Ducks.
Matt Irwin scored the lone goal and Antti Niemi made 25 saves for the Sharks, who added perhaps their most bitter playoff disappointment to a history of them. San Jose has the second most regular-season wins in the NHL the past 10 seasons but has never made it past the conference finals.
WILD 5, AVALANCHE 4
DENVER (AP)—Nino Niederreiter scored his second goal of the game at 5:02 of overtime and Ilya Bryzgalov made a big save filling in for an injured Darcy Kuemper, leading Minnesota to the victory in Game 7.
It’s the first playoff series win for the Wild since 2003.
Minnesota trailed 4-3 before Jared Spurgeon scored on a nifty play with 2:27 left in regulation. Spurgeon waited for a clear look at the goal, and then shot it over Semyon Varlamov’s shoulder and off the left post.
Mikko Koivu and Dany Heatley had the other goals for the Wild, who will face the defending Stanley Cup champion Blackhawks in the second round.
Nick Holden, Jamie McGinn, Paul Stastny and Erik Johnson scored for the Avalanche.
Patrick Roy’s first season on the bench for the Avalanche ended the same way his Hall of Fame goaltending career did—with a loss to the Wild in Game 7. Roy surrendered the winning overtime goal in 2003.
RANGERS 7, FLYERS 3
NEW YORK (AP)—Daniel Carcillo and Benoit Pouliot scored second-period goals, and the New York Rangers advanced to the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs with a 2-1 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers in Game 7 on Wednesday night.
The Rangers shook off a 5-2 thrashing in Philadelphia on Tuesday and knocked out the Flyers about 24 hours later, improving to 6-0 in Game 7s at Madison Square Garden. New York will face another Metropolitan Division rival, the Pittsburgh Penguins, in the next round starting on Friday.
Henrik Lundqvist made 26 saves, allowing only a third-period goal to Jason Akeson 4:32 into the final frame. He protected the one-goal lead at 7:25 when he made an awkward save against Flyers captain Claude Giroux.
The Rangers mobbed Lundqvist after the final buzzer, while the Flyers consoled their goalie Steve Mason.
Mason, who didn’t start until Game 4 because of injury, was sharp in stopping 31 shots, but he couldn’t will his club to a complete comeback after the Flyers fell into a 3-2 series hole. The Flyers dropped to 9-7 in Game 7 after winning their previous three.