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Sharks fizzle in regular season finale
San Jose lands 6th seed, will face Vancouver
4/27/13 - By Mike Lee -

The lockout shortened 48-game regular season came to an end on Saturday night for the San Jose Sharks in Los Angeles, and as a result, all Western Conference playoff match-ups are set. By virtue of the Sharks stumbling the last week of the season and losing 3-2 to the Kings on Saturday night, San Jose slipped to the 6th seed in the West and will open the playoffs in Vancouver. The Sharks entered Saturday night's contest with a chance to finish as high as the 4th seed, but San Jose fizzled against the defending Stanley Cup Champion Kings.

Saturday night's division match up with their nemesis to the south left plenty of questions as the Sharks head into the NHL's second season. San Jose never led and seemed almost disinterested most of the evening. Given the painful experience that endured against the St Louis Blues last spring, the Sharks probably weren't too motivated to force a rematch right away by beating the Kings. That's how it would have played out, had the Sharks won.

A mundane opening period was the antithesis for the intensity of playoff hockey, with both teams failing to create much in terms of offensive chances. The Kings had a pair of opportunities that Sharks goaltender Antti Niemi turned aside to preserve a 0-0 tie after 20 minutes.

The Kings wasted little time in the 2nd period, scoring 48 seconds in, on a Kyle Clifford goal. Clifford took a drop pass from Anze Kopitar in the high slot before snapping a shot on goal. Niemi stopped the shot, but the puck deflected up an over the sprawling netminder, landing in the crease behind him. As the puck trickled toward the goal line, Clifford jammed the puck home for the 1-0 Kings lead.

Logan Couture knotted the game at 1-1 just 49 seconds later. Couture scooped up a Kings turnover in the neutral zone, then split Slava Voyno and Rob Scuderi on his way to the Los Angeles net. The Sharks leading goal scorer lifted a shot that tucked between Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick and the left post for his 21st goal of the season.

Voynov put the Kings on top for good at 5:31 of the period, courtesy of Sharks forward James Sheppard. Voynov pumped a shot from the right point that Niemi had in his sights, but Sheppard inexplicably tried to get a stick on the puck. He did so, but also altered the direction of the shot, to beat Niemi.

Andrew Desjardins took the games only penalty of the game, incurring a tripping minor early in the 3rd period. The Kings would not convert the man advantage, but it took time away from the Sharks to try and tie the game.

Justin Williams essentially ended things with his 11th goal of the season 12 minutes into the 3rd period. Williams helped his own cause by picking Matt Irwin, then using a give-and-go passing sequence with Brad Richardson to mystify the Sharks defense. Richardson was parked behind the Sharks net, where he received a feed from Williams, before immediately returning it for the tap in goal from the doorstep.

T.J. Galiardi made things interesting late, when he fired a Joe Pavelski feed past Quick with 2:26 left in regulation. Brent Burns dropped a pass to Pavelski in the high slot as he skated away from the Kings goal. Pavelski was driving on the right wing when he saw Galiardi breaking in on the off wing. Drawing Quick to the right side, Pavelski slid a pass through the slot to his linemate for the easy deposit.

Sharks head coach Todd McLellan pulled Niemi for an extra attacker, but the Sharks couldn't convert the equalizer.



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Scoring
1 2 3 T
SJ 0 1 1 2
LA 0 2 1 3
1st period - None.
2nd period - 1, LA, Clifford 7 (Kopitar, WIlliams), 0:48. 2, SJ, Couture 21 (unassisted), 1:37. 3, LA, Voynov 6 (Scuderi, Richardson), 5:31.
3rd period - 4, LA, Williams 11 (Richardson, Penner), 12:00. 5, SJ, Galiardi 5 (PAvelski, Burns), 17:34.
Penalties
1st period - None.
2nd period - None.
3rd period - Desjardins, SJ (tripping), 5:31.
Goaltending
Shots Saves
SJ - Niemi 27 24
LA - Quick 25 23
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
SJ 8 7 10 25
LA 8 14 5 27
Power Play Conversion
SJ 0 of 0
LA 0 of 1
3 Stars of the Game
Kyle Clifford
Jonathan Quick
Brad Richardson
Attendence
18,443
Officials
Referees: Lee, Meier. Linesmen: Wheler, Lazarowich.
Holiday Gifts at BustedTees

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