SAN JOSE – Scott Hannan played in his first game with the Sharks on Tuesday against Los Angeles, and was hardly noticeable.
For the six-foot-one, 221-pound defenseman, that’s a good thing. Hannan provided a steady partner for Dan Boyle in 17 minutes and 39 seconds of ice time, and ended the night with +1 rating and one shot on goal. All but 34 seconds of his ice time came at even-strength.
“I thought Scottie did a good job,” Todd McLellan said after the game. “For a guy who hasn’t played in a little while, to come in to that intensity, he looked very comfortable.
“You have to remember, he’s played  games. He’s a veteran guy, he’s calm, he’s relaxed, he’s familiar with his surroundings. I thought he really played well, and was proud to put the jersey on again.”
Hannan, 34, played for the first time in nearly a month, his last game coming on March 17 when he was still with Nashville. The Sharks acquired the former Shark at the trade deadline on April 3, to provide depth on the blue line.
Matt Irwin came out of the lineup for the first time since Feb. 26. The rookie had played in 24 straight games.
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A scary moment for the sellout HP Pavilion crowd came in the third period of Tuesday’s 3-2 win over the Kings, when Joe Thornton went face first into the glass on a hit from Dustin Penner midway through the third period. Thornton was slow to get up.
“I didn’t see him coming,” Thornton said after the game. “I just hit the glass and went down. I’m fine.”
McLellan didn’t comment on the hit after the game.
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What were the Kings saying after what had to be a disappointing loss on Tuesday?
Justin Williams said: “It was a balance tonight. Some good, some bad. Some good shifts, some bad shifts. At this time of the year, it's really the team that deserves to win and usually does. I don't think we deserved to win tonight. The result of the multitude of chances they had tonight was us not being able to sustain a lot of pressure in their zone. They play a very tight defensive box, and we weren't able to penetrate as often as we wanted too.”
“They are so good with their penalty-killing and their goaltending,” Darryl Sutter said. “[Antti] Niemi gets no credit, but he has more than 20 wins. Their penalty kill has put them at the top of the league.”
The Kings and Sharks will face each other once more, when they wrap up the regular season slate on April 27 at Staples Center. On Thursday morning, they are still in position to face each other in the first round of the playoffs, too. A Sharks regulation victory over the Wild on Thursday night would make that even more likely, as San Jose would have at least a three-point lead on the next closest team, and maybe four, depending on what St. Louis does against Phoenix.
The Anaheim Ducks all but wrapped up the Pacific Division long ago, so the third seed is essentially out of reach for both clubs.