Kings, Sharks complete key home-and-home in San Jose
(Sports Network) - The Kings and Sharks will put the finishing touches on the NHL's regular season, as Los Angeles visits San Jose's HP Pavilion for the finale of a key home-and-home series.
With a start time of 10:30 p.m. (ET), tonight's clash between the Kings and Sharks is the final game of the 2011-12 regular season, but the contest will still have an impact on the Western Conference playoff picture.
The Kings and Sharks enter Saturday tied and the clubs are one point behind Phoenix for first place in the Pacific Division. The Coyotes control their destiny and can win the division and claim the third seed in the West if they post a victory tonight in Minnesota.
Should Phoenix take the division, tonight's game between the Sharks and Kings will still determine the last two seeds in the West. If the Coyotes are Pacific champs then the winner of tonight's contest in San Jose will take the conference's seventh seed and the loser will be No. 8.
The Kings, Sharks and Coyotes all clinched playoff berths on Thursday thanks to Dallas losing in regulation at Nashville.
The Sharks have won three straight games and are coming off a shootout victory in the opener of this home-and-home set. San Jose posted the 6-5 win Thursday night in Los Angeles to give the Sharks three wins in five meetings with the Kings this season.
Before Joe Pavelski's goal in the second round of the shootout gave the Sharks the 6-5 win, San Jose had to come back from a pair of one-goal deficits in the third period. After trailing 3-2 heading into the third period, the Sharks were actually able to go ahead 5-4 after Martin Havlat's goal with 7:23 left in regulation. However, Justin Williams notched a power-play goal for the Kings with 3:31 left to go in the third to force overtime.
In addition to Havlat, Jason Demers, Joe Thornton, Ryane Clowe, and Patrick Marleau also scored in regulation for the Sharks, while Niemi stopped 31-of-36 shots.
Williams scored twice for LA, while Alec Martinez, Jarret Stoll and Brown also lit the lamp in the loss. Jonathan Quick turned aside 26 shots in the Kings' second loss in three games.
"Regardless of what happened in Nashville tonight, it would have been nice to kind of more or less do it ourselves with a win," Brown said.
Thursday's game had its share of controversy thanks to Clowe. Late in the third period while LA was on a power play, Stoll was racing down the right side of the ice for the Kings. That's when Clowe, who was sitting on the bench, reached his stick out and disrupted the puck from Stoll.
Stoll immediately looked at the referee, but none of the officials on the ice saw the play and no penalty was called.
"I don't know if my stick touched the puck," said Clowe about the play. "I'll have to watch the tape."
Los Angeles has lost three straight and four of its last five games in San Jose.
The Kings are 18-13-9 as the road club this year, while San Jose is 25-12-3 as the host.
Kings forward Jeff Carter has missed the last four games with an ankle injury and he is questionable for tonight.
04/07 11:35:13 ET