Sports

Thornton helps Sharks clinch playoffs with 5-2 win vs. Kings

  • San Jose Sharks' Justin Braun (61) celebrates his goal with teammates during the first period of an NHL hockey game against the Los Angeles Kings Monday, March 28, 2016, in San Jose, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

    San Jose Sharks' Justin Braun (61) celebrates his goal with teammates during the first period of an NHL hockey game against the Los Angeles Kings Monday, March 28, 2016, in San Jose, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)  (The Associated Press)

  • San Jose Sharks goalie Martin Jones stops a shot against the Los Angeles Kings during the second period of an NHL hockey game Monday, March 28, 2016, in San Jose, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

    San Jose Sharks goalie Martin Jones stops a shot against the Los Angeles Kings during the second period of an NHL hockey game Monday, March 28, 2016, in San Jose, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)  (The Associated Press)

  • Los Angeles Kings' Kyle Clifford (13) fights with San Jose Sharks' Micheal Haley (38) during the second period of an NHL hockey game Monday, March 28, 2016, in San Jose, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

    Los Angeles Kings' Kyle Clifford (13) fights with San Jose Sharks' Micheal Haley (38) during the second period of an NHL hockey game Monday, March 28, 2016, in San Jose, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)  (The Associated Press)

Joe Thornton scored a tiebreaking, power-play goal early in the third period to help send the San Jose Sharks back to the playoffs with a 5-2 victory over the Los Angeles Kings on Monday night.

Justin Braun added two goals, Joe Pavelski and Melker Karlsson also scored and the Sharks will return to the postseason after their run of 10 straight trips was snapped last season. Martin Jones made 30 saves.

Vincent Lecavalier scored twice for the first-place Kings, who had their lead in the Pacific Division cut to one point over second-place Anaheim. The Ducks are four points ahead of the third-place Sharks and have a game in hand over both of their California rivals.

Jonathan Quick made 26 saves, including a brilliant one to rob Logan Couture in the closing moments of the second period. But he had little chance to stop Thornton's go-ahead goal in the third.