Sharks slip in standings with 5-2 loss to Kings

Sharks slip in standings with 5-2 loss to Kings
March 21, 2012, 5:05 am
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LOS ANGELES The night couldnt have gone much worse for the San Jose Sharks.Not only did the team lose in regulation to the Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday night, 5-2, but the other four teams they are in direct competition with for a playoff spot all gained points in the standings.San Jose (36-27-10) sits in 10th place in the Western Conference with 82 points, two out of a playoff spot. There are just nine games remaining in the regular season.Leading 2-1 at the second intermission, the Kings increased their lead on the power play.Torrey Mitchell and Andrew Desjardins were whistled for high-sticking penalties less than a minute apart, including Mitchells double minor. Jeff Carter was called for interference nullifying the two-man advantage, but that was no matter, as Anze Kopitar scored his fourth goal in as many games on a wrist shot from the high slot at the four-minute mark.Kopitars goal came on a delayed penalty to Brent Burns, meaning the Kings would, in fact, get more time with a five-on-three. The Sharks killed it off and kept the game within reach on a nice passing play between Marty Havlat, Logan Couture and Dan Boyle that resulted in Boyles first goal in 17 games at 6:56.Any thoughts of a comeback were quashed when Dustin Penners wrist shot beat Antti Niemi at 15:54, after Slava Voynov picked off Ryane Clowes errant pass towards Boyle in the neutral zone. It was a bad goal by Niemi, making his 12th straight start.Carter's late empty-net goal capped the scoring.The Sharks have lost two straight, including Mondays 5-3 loss to Anaheim.The Kings took a 1-0 lead with a shorthanded goal. San Jose got caught with too many men deep in its own zone, leading to a two-on-one rush. Mike Richards, with Carter to his right and Boyle defending, took the shot himself and beat Niemi at 15:26.It was the 10th time in 12 games the Kings scored first.The Sharks responded, though, with Kopitar still in the box on a goalie interference penalty. Havlat skated the puck towards the slot, had his shot blocked by Rob Scuderis skate, but got the puck back and fired in his fourth goal in four games.Los Angeles had the better of the zone time in the second period, outshooting the Sharks 16-5 in the frame, and finally capitalized late. Kopitar set up Alec Martinez for a one timer in the circle at 15:49 and the Kings had a 2-1 lead at the intermission.The Kings outshot the Sharks for the game, 42-22.The Sharks inserted Jim Vandermeer and Colin White back into the lineup, while Brad Winchester and Jason Demers did not play. Injured forwards Michal Handzus, TJ Galiardi and Tommy Wingels also missed the game.The Sharks host the Boston Bruins on Thursday.