SAN JOSE TJ Galiardi scored on his shot at redemption, and the Sharks have kept their Stanley Cup playoff drive alive.
San Jose evened its series with the Los Angeles Kings on Sunday, with Galiardi's second-period goal holding up as the winner in a 2-1 victory that pushes this second-round playoff series to a Game 7 on Tuesday night at Staples Center in Los Angeles.
And it turns out, Galiardi's captain and linemate, Joe Thornton, had predicted it.
"Jumbo has been telling me the whole time, 'just be patient you're going to score when the boys need it the most,' " said Galiardi, whose goal was his first in 19 postseason games. "He was a bit of a fortune teller tonight."
Thornton scored the first-period goal on a 5-on-3 power play that staked the Sharks to a 1-0 lead in their do-or-die Game 6. Goalie Antti Niemi made 24 saves, giving up a lone goal to Dustin Brown in helping the Sharks avoid elimination.
Galiardi, who was in the spotlight for accusing Kings netminder Jonathan Quick of diving, had taken a costly goalie interference penalty that led to a Los Angeles goal in San Jose's loss Thursday.
But he more than made up for it Sunday when he corralled a pass off the neutral-zone boards from Scott Hannan, fired a 35-foot shot from the right faceoff circle using Kings defenseman Robyn Regher as a screen and beat Quick high on the glove side at 4:10.
Exactly as planned.
"I wanted to get it up, that was the biggest thing," Galiardi said. "And it's one of those things, when you put it through a d-man, it's tough for the goalie to pick it up. You look at the elite goal scorers in the league, and that's what they do every time. I was trying to take a page out of their book."
The Sharks got on the scoreboard with the Kings' top two centers in the penalty box Mike Richards for hooking Brent Burns and Anze Kopitar for delay of game, the third time in this series a puck over the glass put a team two men down. San Jose had a 5-on-3 advantage for 1:46 and needed 1:11 of it before Joe Pavelski found Thornton parked all alone to the left of Quick, and Thornton's 8-foot wrist shot found the back of the Los Angeles net.
Pavelski had waited patiently for a passing lane, and when one didn't develop, skated back a few feet to create the opening.
"It feels like ages, but Pav just made a beautiful pass," Thornton said. "Everybody in the building thought he was going to shoot. Great pass. A hole opened up, and he kind of put that in."
Niemi was solid all night, controlling the flow of play and giving up few rebounds. The only shot that beat him came after the Kings regrouped following their killing off a four-minute minor when Justin Williams cut Marc-Edouard Vlasic.
A shot by Los Angeles defenseman Matt Greene eventually caromed off Tommy Wingels to Brown in the corner, and he banked a shot off Niemi into the goal to cut the lead to 2-1 at 13:53.
But that was as close as the Kings got, even after pulling Quick in favor of an extra attacker with 1:36 remaining.
The Sharks know they have their work cut out for them Tuesday night in Los Angeles. The home team has won every game of this series, and that needs to change if San Jose is going to advance to the Western Conference finals for the third time in four years.