Sharks look to clinch Pacific title vs. L.A.

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Sharks look to clinch Pacific title vs. L.A.

April 4, 2011SHARKS PAGE SHARKS VIDEOLOS ANGELES (45-27-6) vs.SHARKS (46-23-9)

Coverage begins at 6:30 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet California.

SAN JOSE (AP) -- A 7-0-1 surge has left the Sharks needing one win to clinch the Pacific Division for the fourth consecutive season.

The only loss in that span came against the Los Angeles Kings, who find themselves on the verge of back-to-back postseason appearances thanks to a impressive stretch of their own.

The Sharks, winners of five in a row at home, can avenge that defeat and secure the Pacific title when they host the Kings on Monday night.

San Jose (46-23-9) suffered its lone defeat in the past eight games March 24, falling 4-3 in a shootout at Los Angeles. The Sharks won their third in a row since that loss Saturday, overcoming a 2-0 deficit after one period to beat Anaheim 4-2.

NOTEBOOK: Nichol could return for Sharks this week

"We were talking about how we worked so hard as of late to get back on top of our division," forward Devin Setoguchi said after recording a goal and two assists. "Just to let it slip like that and have a bad period wasn't something we wanted to do. We worked so hard and it's so easy to fall right back into a hole."

Left wing Patrick Marleau had two goals and an assist to give him 10 goals and seven assists in his last nine games.

The Sharks, who have outscored opponents 14-3 during their three-game run, will end the Pacific race with any kind of victory Monday. San Jose is also focused on the battle with Detroit for the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference -- and making sure it doesn't lose home-ice advantage in the first round.

"We're in a race for second," Setoguchi told the Sharks' official website. "We can't catch Vancouver. We're not going to just sit back. L.A. and Phoenix are a few points back. We have a goal to get second and try to get home ice."

The Kings (45-27-6) are in a fourth-place tie with the Coyotes, with both teams five points behind the Sharks. Los Angeles, though has a game in hand over Phoenix.

The Kings are also surging as the season winds down, defeating Dallas 3-1 on Saturday for their fifth win in six games. Los Angeles has gone 9-2-1 in its last 12, and with another victory Monday can secure its second straight playoff berth.

"We just found a way to do it again," forward Jarret Stoll said. "We found a way to get the points, and that's all that matters."

Captain Dustin Brown, who scored twice against the Sharks last month, had a goal Saturday and has five goals and two assists in his last five games. Defenseman Matt Greene and right wing Wayne Simmonds also scored against the Stars.

Los Angeles has been rolling despite the absences of Anze Kopitar and Justin Williams, neither of whom are expected to return before the playoffs.

"We've been seeing that guys are stepping up, and we've been playing well without them," Simmonds said of Kopitar and Williams, who are tops on the team with 73 and 57 points, respectively. "It would be nice to have them back, but we can't worry about that right now."

Jonathan Quick made 24 saves Saturday and has gone 4-1-0 with a 1.75 goals-against average in his last five starts. Quick had posted a 1.81 GAA in winning five of six on the road prior to allowing three goals in a 3-1 loss at Vancouver on Thursday.

Quick is 2-0-1 with a 0.97 GAA in his career at HP Pavilion, where he stopped 24 shots in a 4-0 win Dec. 27.

San Jose counterpart Antti Niemi is also thriving, earning his 20th win in 27 starts by making 20 saves against the Ducks. Niemi is 4-1-2 with a 1.81 GAA versus the Kings.

The Sharks, 2-1-2 against the Kings, haven't lost the season series since 2001-02.

Captain Joe Thornton, three points away from reaching 1,000 for his career, saw his season high-tying five-game point streak end Saturday. He has managed one assist in his last six matchups with Los Angeles.

Bumgarner allows two runs, Giants start spring training with walk-off homer

Bumgarner allows two runs, Giants start spring training with walk-off homer

BOX SCORE

At Scottsdale, Arizona, Chris Marrero hit a three-run homer in the bottom of the ninth and drove in four runs as the Giants rallied after Madison Bumgarner gave up two runs on two hits in the top of the first.

Marrero, a 2006 first-round draft pick of the Nationals trying to revive his career as a non-roster invitee, had an RBI single in the fifth.

Kevin Shackelford, the seventh Cincinnati pitcher, walked Orlando Calixte to open the ninth and Christian Arroyo blooped a single into left field before Marrero hit a line drive over the wall in left centerfield.

Patrick Kivlehan had a two-run single off Bumgarner in the first and Hunter Pence doubled in a run off Reds starter Rookie Davis. Davis, acquired from the Yankees in the Aroldis Chapman deal, is likely to open with Double-A Pensacola this year.

Sharks recall trio as bye week concludes

Sharks recall trio as bye week concludes

VANCOUVER – Kevin Labanc, Barclay Goodrow and Tim Heed have accompanied the Sharks to Vancouver, and will presumably be available to play against the Canucks on Saturday in the first game after the bye week.

Forwards Timo Meier, Nikolay Goldobin and Marcus Sorensen, all of whom have played games with the NHL club this season, remain with the AHL Barracuda for the time being.

Labanc, 21, has 18 points (7g, 11a) in 45 games this season. Lately he has been skating as the left wing on the top line with Joe Thornton and Joe Pavelski, and is looking to snap a 21-game goal drought.

Goodrow, 23, has played one game with the Sharks this season, going scoreless on Jan. 24 at Winnipeg. Unless the Sharks recall someone else before their game with the Canucks, Goodrow will likely play his second game as the team is carrying just 12 healthy forwards as of Friday afternoon. Joonas Donskoi did not accompany the Sharks to Vancouver, and remains day-to-day with what the club is offically calling an upper body injury but appears to be a right shoulder.

Heed, likely the seventh defenseman in case of emergency, has also played one scoreless game on Jan. 11 at Calgary.

Dylan DeMelo made the trip, but is still not ready. The defenseman told CSN last week that he’s on schedule with an eight-week recovery from a broken right wrist that would put his return around early March.