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Sharks prove they're division royalty
6-1 win over Kings clinches Pacific
4/4/11 - By Mike Lee -

The Pacific Division race is over. The San Jose Sharks dispatched the Los Angeles Kings in a white-washing at HP Pavilion on Monday night, wrapping up the division title with a resounding 6-1 win. San Jose received scoring from six different players and Antti Niemi cruised to his 34th win of the season. The Sharks continue to carve through their division opponents, winning their 4th straight over a Pacific Division foe.

The division title means that San Jose will start the playoff as no worse than the 3rd seed. The Sharks jumped past the Detroit Red Wings into the number two spot in the Western Conference standings. Both teams have three games remaining.

Monday night's contest was all Sharks from the opening faceoff.

Joe Pavelski wasted little time getting the Sharks on the board, converting 1:47 into the game. The Sharks centerman positioned himself in the slot, taking a Torrey Mitchell feed from the right wing boards while back skating. Pavelski pivoted toward the Kings net and snapped a shot low to the stick side for his 19th goal of the season.

Marc-Edouard Vlasic scored just his 4th goal of the season on a pretty cross-ice feed from Kyle Wellwood at 8:26. The Sharks setup the goal by controlling the tempo in the Kings zone. Pavelski set the table by making a feed to Wellwood as the Sharks cycled in the zone.

The Kings looked as if they would get back into the game early into the 2nd period, when Michal Handzus tapped in a rebound just 1:57 in. Matt Greene pumped a shot on Antti Niemi from the left wing that the Sharks netminder couldn't control. Handzus was in the right place at the right time to easily deposit the deflection.

The notion of a Kings comeback would quickly be extinguished.

Wellwood tipped home a Vlasic blast 22 seconds later to put the Sharks back up by two goals. Vlasic was originally credited with the goal, but the official scorekeeper ruled that Wellwood got a stick on the shot that deflected past Quick.

Dan Boyle made it 4-1 three minutes later, rifling a shot from 30 feet out after taking a lead pass from Thornton at the blueline then driving up the gut. The defenseman put a single move on Willie Mitchell before snapping home a shot from just inside the right circle.

Quick would get the hook after Boyle's goal. Kings head coach Terry Murray would insert Jonathan Bernier in his place, which turned out to be as ineffective. Bernier surrendered Joe Thornton's 20th goal of the season on a deflection from the right side of the net at 9:20. Patrick Marleau jammed a shot on net from in tight, bouncing the shot to Thornton for the immediate put-back.

Devin Setoguchi made it a 6-1 game with 27 seconds left in the period, by snapping a shot past Bernier from the slot. The Sharks forward took a feed from Marleau at the Kings blueline, then carried the puck into the zone and crossed up Bernier with a toe-drag before snapping home his 22nd goal of the season.

San Jose was content to run as much clock as they could in the 3rd period, not applying much pressure to Bernier. Even so, they would hold an advantage in shots in the period until the Kings decided to get chippy. Kyle Clifford took exception to a hit by Douglas Murray, so he went after the Sharks defenseman. Brad Richardson felt Clifford needed a little assistance, so he also decided to get in on the action.

Dan Boyle came to Murray's aid and locked horns with Richardson. Boyle would earn a roughing minor and unsportsmanlike conduct minors, the latter coming from engaging in a fight with a visor on. Neither call made sense given that two Kings were attempting to fight with a single Sharks player.

It made no difference other than to bolster the Sharks penalty killing stats, as the Kings failed to convert on the abridged double minor.

The fight would give Boyle the Gordie Howe hat-trick.

The one negative on the evening was an injury sustained by Ryane Clowe who skated three shifts before heading to the locker room. McLellan reported that Clowe suffered a lower body injury, but in fine NHL fashion would surrender any more information on the subject.



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Scoring
1 2 3 T
LA 0 1 0 1
SJ 2 4 0 6
1st period - 1, SJ, Pavelski 19 (Mitchell), 1:47. 2, SJ, Vlasic 4 (Wellwood, Pavelski), 8:26.
2nd period - 3, LA, Handzus 12 (Greene, Martinez), 1:57. 4, SJ, Wellwood 5 (Vlasic, Desjardins), 2:19. 5, SJ, Boyle 8 (Thornton, Murray), 5:33. 6, SJ, Thornton 20 (Marleau), 9:20. 7, SJ, Setoguchi 22 (Marleau, Boyle), 19:33.
3rd period - None.
Penalties
1st period - Clifford, LA (fighting major), 11:37; Mayers, SJ (fighting major) 11:37; Mayers, SJ (hooking), 19:48.
2nd period - None.
3rd period - Richardson, LA (fighting major), 17:12; Clifford, LA (fighting major), 17:12; Murray, SJ (fighting major), 17:12; Boyle, SJ (roughing), 17:12; Boyle, SJ (unsportsmanlike conduct), 17:12; Boyle, SJ (fighting major), 17:12; Boyle, SJ (10 min misconduct), 17:12.
Goaltending
Shots Saves
LA - Quick 16 12
LA - Bernier 19 17
SJ - Niemi 32 31
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
LA 12 12 8 32
SJ 10 16 9 35
Power Play Conversion
LA 0 of 3
SJ 0 of 0
3 Stars of the Game
Kyle Wellwood
Joe Thornton
Marc-Edouard Vlasic
Attendence
17,562
Officials
Referees: Kozari, Meier. Linesmen: Kovachik, Cormier.
Holiday Gifts at BustedTees

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