Historic rally a nightmare for Sharks

"When I look at it, I look at it as they fixed their problems, we didn't," said Sharks head coach Todd McLellan, who sounded more angry than disappointed in his postgame news conference. "Our problems got progressively worse as we went along. We were awful off the rush. They scored I don't know how many goals off the rush. Every day we came to the rink and we tried to stress that about giving outnumbered rushes. We were never able to fix it. It's frustrating because during the year we were pretty good in those areas. I don't know if there's one point [when the series shifted] but that would sum it up."

Said Sharks captain Joe Thornton: "I think their defense just swallowed us up right now, to be honest with you. They just played real tight defensively and their goaltender got hot like he usually does this time of the year."

Indeed, Jonathan Quick did his thing again. It's why so many people picked the Kings to beat the Sharks to begin with.

It's not losing to the Kings in itself that's the issue for the Sharks. It's the embarrassing way it happened.

For a decade, the Sharks have battled the reputation of playoff underachievers, because despite three conference final appearances in a 10-year stretch and having played the second-most playoff games since 2004 (behind only Detroit), the perception from the outside is the Sharks have never been able to step up when it mattered most.

Just imagine what people are going to say now.

"You don't usually agree with it but then you do something like this, and it's not easy to take, you know?" Marleau, the longest-serving Shark on the club, said rather frankly when asked about his team's playoff rep.

"There's been a lot of low points, but yeah, this is definitely one of them, being up 3-0," he added.

McLellan wasn't ready to start diagnosing the changes that need to be made to this team. That will come in the weeks ahead.

But this much we do know: It's not the coaching. There are changes within this core of players that have to come if the Sharks are ever going to become a championship team.

It's a team that needs to be stronger mentally, that needs better goaltending and better quality depth on defense.

All of the above, by the way, are check marks for the Kings.

The 2012 champs and 2013 conference finalists proved yet again with this historical achievement that the Kings were built by GM Dean Lombardi for this time of year.

"We just have a lot of heart on this team," Doughty said. "We have guys who are so competitive, guys who want to win. That's how Dean built this team. He built it with guys who were so competitive, guys who will do anything to win. I think that showed. We never gave up and came back hard."

Brace yourself, Anaheim, the Kings are coming in hot and championship hungry.

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