Sharks 5, Kings 2
SAN JOSE, Calif. --
The Pacific Division Champion San Jose Sharks (49-21-10) edged out the Los Angeles Kings (31-42-7) by a 5-2 final on Tuesday night in the 2007-08 regular season home finale at HP Pavilion. San Jose extended their point streak to 20 games (18-0-2).
The early highlights were limited to a major heavyweight battle between Jody Shelley and Raitis Ivanans. The Kings grappler took the biggest blow when Shelley connected with a right before both went to the ice.
Eleven minutes into the game San Jose was outshooting Los Angeles 9-1, but nothing was on the scoreboard.
It looked as if the only advantage after 20 minutes would be on the shot clock, but with 11 seconds left in the stanza, Mike Grier picked up a rebound and beat Erik Ersberg to the far post, letting San Jose take a 1-0 lead into the lockerroom.
San Jose drew a power play in the second period’s opening minute, but luck would not be on their side. When Sharks captain Patrick Marleau
was tripped up entering the zone and nothing was called, it led to a Patrick O’Sullivan breakaway the other way. The Kings forward had plenty of time and found the back of the net on Nabokov.
The Sharks would not sulk about the no-call and quickly responded. While still on the power play, Jeremy Roenick used a touch pass to find Marleau in the high slot and his one-timer went off Ersberg and in.
It marked the game’s third goal in 2:14 of game time.
The scoring binge would continue when Los Angeles would pull even at the 6:56 mark when Ivanans would slide a puck inside the far post.
With just under six to go in the second, San Jose once again jumped on top. The play started when Milan Michalek almost found a seem between two blueliners. He did an amazing job just to get a shot off, but it was turned to the corner. There, Ryane Clowe
jumped on the loose puck and fed Joe Thornton
behind the net. The big guy set up in his office and sent it perfectly to Michalek in close who roofed the go-ahead tally.
It marked Thornton’s 300th point as a Sharks player and when he was put on the scoreboard with the stat, the crowd gave him a standing ovation and began chanting MVP.
San Jose killed off a late call against Kyle McLaren to preserve the 3-2 lead after 40 minutes and would carry one minute of their own power play time into the third.
|San Jose Sharks goalie Evgeni Nabokov (20), of Kazakhstan, pushes Los Angeles Kings defenseman Rob Blake (4) in the second period of their NHL hockey game in San Jose, Calif., Tuesday, April 1, 2008. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)
In the final stanza, Los Angeles was desperate to find a goal, but the stingy Sharks defense limited the HP Pavilion visitors to just four shots in the first 14 minutes of the third.
With 3:30 left in regulation, San Jose added an insurance tall. The play began because Tomas Plihal knocked a puck out of the air to keep it in the zone. Plihal had to abandon the play as his stick broke, but Shelley forced another turnover and dropped it to a wide open Curtis Brown. The red hot veteran winger had time to take his time and he wristed the shot glove side for his fifth tally of the year.
Matching minors to Los Angeles gave Team Teal a late five-on-three that would take the clock down under a minute if they did not score. However, with just five ticks left on the extended two-man advantage, blueliner Brian Campbell cranked up a slap shot that hit the top of the net for the 5-2 lead.
THANKS SCOTT THORNTON
Former Shark and current Kings winger Scott Thornton was put on the video board and received a nice ovation from the HP Pavilion fans.
The Sharks will visit Los Angeles on Thursday night and the game will be available on Comcast SportsNet, 98.5 KFOX and sjsharks.com.
From the AP Wire
SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) -Evgeni Nabokov made 16 saves in his NHL-best 46th victory, and the San Jose Sharks closed out their home schedule with their 18th win in 20 games, 5-2 over the Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday night.
Milan Michalek scored the go-ahead goal in the second period for the Pacific Division champions, who have earned a point in every game since March 20. Mike Grier, captain Patrick Marleau, Curtis Brown and Brian Campbell also scored as the Sharks earned their 108th point, surpassing last season's franchise record of 107 with two games to play.
|San Jose Sharks goalie Evgeni Nabokov, of Kazakhstan, celebrates after the Sharks defeated the Los Angeles Kings 5-2 during their NHL hockey game in San Jose, Calif., Tuesday, April 1, 2008. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)
Nabokov guaranteed he'll lead the league in victories this season, moving four wins ahead of New Jersey's Martin Brodeur. He's also still in the running to match Brodeur's NHL record of 48 victories last season, though coach Ron Wilson hasn't said who will play in the Sharks' last two games.
Patrick O'Sullivan and Raitis Ivanans scored for the Kings as the clubs began a home-and-home series between the NHL's worst team and its second-best. Erik Ersberg stopped 29 shots for Los Angeles, which won its first three games at the Shark Tank this season - all back in November.
Nabokov, who has played in 75 of the Sharks' 80 games, is fourth in NHL history behind Brodeur's 48 victories and the 47 wins compiled by Philadelphia's Bernie Parent (1973-74) - who did it before shootouts - and Vancouver's Roberto Luongo (2006-07).
Even in a one-sided win, the Sharks rested up for the playoffs by playing without forward Jonathan Cheechoo, defenseman Craig Rivet and rookie forward Devin Setoguchi, who all sat out to rest minor injuries. Wilson kept his players' minutes fairly even, giving bigger rests than normal to Thornton and Campbell, among others.
San Jose dominated puck possession in the first period, but didn't score until Grier put a difficult rebound shot past two defenders and Ersberg with 10.6 seconds to play. Grier, a superb defensive forward who runs the NHL's third-best penalty-killing unit, hadn't scored a goal since March 1.
|San Jose Sharks right wing Mike Grier, left, and defenseman Kyle McLaren (4) celebrate as goalie Evgeni Nabokov, of Kazakhstan, in back, watches after the Sharks defeated the Los Angeles Kings 5-2 during their NHL hockey game in San Jose, Calif., Tuesday, April 1, 2008. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)
O'Sullivan tied it with a short-handed breakaway goal early in the second, but Marleau put the Sharks back ahead 66 seconds later with his 18th goal. Ivanans, the Los Angeles enforcer who fought Jody Shelley in the first period, tied it again when Alexander Frolov's pass caught the San Jose defense napping.
Michalek then snapped an eight-game goal-scoring drought on a pass from Joe Thornton, who picked up his NHL-leading 66th assist. Brown and Campbell added late goals, with Campbell scoring during a two-man advantage with 1:01 to play.
Notes: Los Angeles LW Kyle Calder missed his fifth straight game with a finger injury, and D Jack Johnson missed his sixth with foot injury. ... The clubs finish the season series Thursday night in Los Angeles, where the Sharks will try to finish a four-game sweep at Staples Center. ... Thornton's assist was his 300th point with the Sharks. He has 70 goals and 230 assists in just 220 games with San Jose.
|Three star selections