Sharks rule Pacific after routing Kings

SAN JOSE (Reuters) - The San Jose Sharks blitzed the Los Angeles Kings 6-1 on Monday to win the Pacific Division for the fourth consecutive year.

The streaking Sharks (47-23-9) have won eight of their last nine and have three regular season games remaining.

"You want to win your division but we're still fighting for second with Detroit," San Jose center Joe Thornton told reporters. "It's a good step. We still have to win some games to finish out the season."

The Kings (45-28-6), tied for fourth in the West, could have clinched a playoff spot with a win. They can still seal a playoff berth with a win or a Dallas loss.

Joe Pavelski and Marc-Edouard Vlasic scored first-period goals to give San Jose a 2-0 lead.

Los Angeles' Michal Handzus netted a goal at the start of the second before the Sharks hit back with four unanswered goals from Kyle Wellwood, Dan Boyle, Thornton and Devin Setoguchi.

"They came ready to play and we didn't," said Kings defenseman Matt Greene. "It's a good lesson late in the year that you are never as good as you think you are."

Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick allowed four scores and was pulled in the second period in favor of Jonathan Bernier, who surrendered two goals.

Playing without injured forwards Anze Kopitar and Justin Williams, Los Angeles could not generate enough attack to trouble the Sharks.

San Jose winger Ryane Clowe suffered an undisclosed injury early in the first period and did not return. (Reporting by Jahmal Corner in Los Angeles, editing by Peter Rutherford)