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Sharks earn playoff spot with win over Kings
SJ back in the post season after a year hiatus
3/28/16 - By Mike Lee -

The Sharks and Los Angeles Kings don't ever need any motivation to play each other tough, but when there's a playoff spot on the line, you have the makings for an entertaining evening. That's exactly what fans got on Monday night as the two teams battled for the positioning in the Pacific Division standings. The Sharks had the added motivation of a playoff spot that eluded them last season. A win or a Phoenix Coyotes loss would secure that spot for San Jose. They would get both.

The Sharks broke a 2-2 tie in with a three goal outburst in the 3rd period to snap a 3-game home losing streak. The Coyotes had lost minutes earlier, so the Sharks victory was redundant, but it was something San Jose needed.

The Kings weren't in a charitable mood as they are battling both the Sharks and Anaheim Ducks for the division title. By virtue of their win earlier in the day, The Ducks climbed to within a single point of the Kings.

Los Angeles drew first blood on Monday night, when Vincent Lecavalier snapped a shot past Martin Jones from the right dot after Justin Braun was sent off for a delay of game penalty. Lecavalier has rejuvenated his career in LA after he was acquired by the Kings earlier this season.

The Kings forward would score again the 2nd period, tying the game after San Jose had grabbed a 2-1 lead.

Braun atoned for his penalty earlier in the 1st period, when he snapped a shot from the high slot past Jonathan Quick. Tommy Wingels separated Tyler Toffoli from the puck with a hit along the right wing boards, deflecting the puck to Melker Karlsson. The Swedish forward dropped the puck to Braun to setup the defenseman's 3rd goal of the season.

Joe Pavelski gave San Jose a 2-1 lead at 7:55 of the 2nd period when he tipped a Brent Burns shot that changed directions on Quick. The goal was Pavelski's 36th tally of the season.

Lecavalier notched his 2nd of the game 4:17 left in the period, to setup the 3rd period showdown. San Jose could have jumped the gun with a goal late in the 2nd period, but Quick made a circus save, blocking a Logan Couture shot by diving across the goal mouth and knocking down the shot with his stick paddle.

That showdown turned out to be a one-sided affair as the Sharks overpowered Quick in the 3rd period.

Joe Thornton was johnny-on-the-spot 4:28 into the period as the Sharks converted on a power play. Pavelski pumped a shot on Quick from the slot, but the netminder blocked the scoring chance, deflecting the puck to the right side of the net where Thornton was there to gobble up the rebound and lift a shot over the fallen Kings netminder.

Karlsson slipped a slick drop pass by Wingels under Quick's pad with 3:19 to play to push the Sharks lead to a pair of goals. Wingels appeared as if he would carry the puck around the back of the net, but elected to leave it for Karlsson. The Shaks winger was crashing toward the right post when Wingels pass hit him on the skate, redirecting past Quick for the 4-2 lead.

Bran added an empty netter for his 2-goal night.





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Scoring
1 2 3 T
LA 1 1 0 2
SJ 1 1 3 5
1st period - 1, LA, Lecavalier 9 (Martinez, McNabb), 9:12, (pp). 2, SJ, Braun 3 (Karlsson, Wingels), 12:57.
2nd period - 3, SJ, Pavelski 36 (Hertl, Burns), 7:55. 4, LA, Lecavalier 10 (Lucic, Toffoli), 15:43.
3rd period - 5, SJ, Thornton 18 (Pavelski, Burns), 4:28, (pp). 6, SJ, Karlsson 10 (Wingels, Polak), 16:41. 7, SJ, Braun 4 (Zubrus), 19:41, (en).
Penalties
1st period - Braun, SJ (delay of game - puck over glass), 8:00; Thornton, SJ (tripping), 13:34; McNabb, LA (holding), 19:14.
2nd period - Hertl, SJ (cross checking), 8:38; Clifford, LA (fighting major), 13:58; Haley, SJ (fighting major), 13:58.
3rd period - Carter, LA (hooking), 4:17.
Goaltending
Shots Saves
LA - Quick 30 26
LA - empty net 1 0
SJ - Jones 32 30
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
LA 9 15 8 32
SJ 11 10 10 31
Power Play Conversion
LA 1 of 3
SJ 1 of 2
3 Stars of the Game
Joe Pavelski
Joe Thornton
Justin Braun
Attendance
17,066
Officials
Referees: Charron, McCauley. Linesmen: Rody, Gibbons.
Holiday Gifts at BustedTees

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