Wrapping up a wild one at Staples Center

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Wrapping up a wild one at Staples Center

LOS ANGELES Logan Couture was the first to find out that the Sharks were in the playoffs.The Sharks center had just been blindsided by the Kings Kyle Clifford at the end of the first period of San Joses 6-5 shootout win last night. He had to be helped up the tunnel and into the locker room after the hit, which earned Clifford a five-minute boarding major.He watched from the trainers room at Staples Center as Columbus iced its 5-2 win over Colorado with an empty net goal, but I didnt say anything to anyone, at the first intermission, he said.It didnt matter. The Sharks found out one way or another that they were in the playoffs after the first 20 minutes, no matter the result of their game with the Kings. Early in the first, there was an announcement made on the jumbotron at Staples Center that Dallas had lost, too.Todd McLellan didnt make ay sort of announcement to his club that the Blue Jackets booked the Sharks ticket to the postseason. There wasnt anything said, McLellan said. I think when they announced that LA had made the playoffs because of Dallas loss, everybody was aware of that. There wasnt anything mentioned between periods or on the bench that Colorado had lost, and we just kept playing.Dan Boyle said: We knew after the first that both Dallas and Colorado had lost. A little bit of relief, but obviously we wanted to win this game and give ourselves a chance at getting that third seed. And, were giving ourselves a chance. Theres obviously no guarantees with Phoenix, but weve got to win a game our next game and see where were at.The Sharks need to beat the Kings on Saturday and hope that Phoenix finishes with less than three points in order to win the Pacific. The Coyotes season concludes with games in St. Louis on Friday and Minnesota on Saturday.RELATED: NHL conference standings Division standings
Kings upset on Clowes interference: Yep, the Los Angeles Kings were disconcerted that Ryane Clowe got away with breaking up an odd-man rush from the bench late in the third, when he tipped the puck away from Jarret Stoll.Here are a few of their post-game comments on the subject.Darryl Sutter: What do you think my thoughts are? You cant call too many men on the ice. What do you call it - too many sticks?Im surprised because Jarret Stoll was carrying the puck and nobody else saw it. Its not the question of whether Ive seen it before. Im just surprised it didnt get seen.Dustin Brown: Im not sure how all four of them missed it I dont know; I dont know what to tell you. They missed it and none of them said they saw it. I thought it was pretty evident, but when youre in the game sometimes you arent going to see everything. It is what it is; we cant sit there and dwell on it. We had plenty of opportunities on the power play. Our power play came up big. The PK wasnt the strongest part of our game.Drew Doughty: Ive never seen that before. That could have been the difference in the game if the refs would have caught that. Sometimes they arent going to see things; Im sure its hard for them to catch that but if they got that it would have been a 5-on-3 and another good chance for us to capitalize. The game is over now and they didnt and now we just have to look forward to the next game and we have to win.Fixing the PK: The Sharks allowed four power play goals to Los Angeles, and scored three of their own in the wild win. That will be one area of their game that McLellan will be sure to address before Saturdays rematch, and he expects his counterpart to do the same.Im sure both of us, Darryl Sutter and myself, will be looking at the penalty kill aspect of it. We gave up far too many goals there, and theyre normally very strong in the penalty kill situation so were fortunate to beat them there a few times.The Kings have the fourth best penalty kill in the league (87.2 percent), while San Joses is 28th (77. 0 percent).RELATED: NHL stats leaders
Conversely, the Sharks now own the second best power play in the league (21.0 percent), while the Kings are 21st. (16.4 percent).

In push for playoffs, LA Kings acquire goalie Bishop from Tampa Bay

In push for playoffs, LA Kings acquire goalie Bishop from Tampa Bay

The Los Angeles Kings have acquired goaltender Ben Bishop in a trade with the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Los Angeles sent Peter Budaj, defensive prospect Erik Cernak, a 2017 seventh-round pick and a conditional pick to Tampa Bay for Bishop and a 2017 fifth-round pick.

Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman announced the trade Sunday night, less than four days before the trade deadline.

Bishop, a pending unrestricted free agent, helped the Lightning reach the 2015 Stanley Cup Final. The Kings now have Bishop and 2012 and 2014 Cup winner Jonathan Quick, who returned Saturday from a long-term lower-body injury that had sidelined him since October.

The 6-foot-7 Bishop, 30, is 16-12-3 with a 2.55 goals-against average and .911 save percentage.

Three takeaways: Sharks stand up for Karlsson; avoiding the mumps

Three takeaways: Sharks stand up for Karlsson; avoiding the mumps

VANCOUVER – It was a successful first game coming out of the bye week for the Sharks, as they won going away against the Canucks at Rogers Arena on Saturday, 4-1. Here are our three takeaways from the evening in British Columbia…

1 – Slow start, strong finish

The league-wide trend of starting slow coming out of the NHL’s newly instituted bye week was on display in the first period, as the Sharks and Canucks played one of the uglier frames of NHL hockey you’ll ever see. San Jose was on its heels early, surrendering the first six shots of the game and looking particularly confused. They didn’t register a single hit in the period, either, which is hard to do.

The Sharks were lucky that Vancouver wasn’t much better, and that Martin Jones – whose performance we focused on in primary the game recap – was looking sharp and well rested.

The message after the scoreless first period, according to coach Pete DeBoer, was just to “try and get better.” That’s what happened.

“We knew it would be a little messy, and it was,” DeBoer said. “Jonesy thankfully was our best player, and gave us a chance to get our legs under us. I thought as the game wore on we got better and better. It wasn’t a pretty win, by any means.”

Chris Tierney said: “After the first 10 minutes [we] started to feel good and then kind of felt back to normal in the second there. It definitely took a little bit. Joner bailed us out in the beginning a couple times. I thought we started to get going in the second and third.”

2 – Standing up for Karlsson

Melker Karlsson was lucky to return in the third period after he took a heavy hit from Joseph Labate. Karlsson had to be helped to the dressing room after the blow, when his head violently snapped back as Labate ran him into the boards in front of the bench.

Micheal Haley pounced on Labate immediately after the incident, earning a two-minute minor that the team was probably happy to kill off. Labate, to his credit, answered the bell in the third period when he was challenged by and fought Brenden Dillon. The Sharks will face the Canucks three more times this season, including on Thursday, so a response to the hit was particularly necessary even if it was clean.

“That sends a good message to the team that everybody has each other’s back,” Mikkel Boedker said of Haley and Dillon’s efforts. “Those guys are real standup guys, and they’ve done it so many times. Every time they do it, it means something special to all of us.”

DeBoer said: “That’s a huge part of our team and our team identity. We’ve got a group that you’re not going to be able to push to of games, and I think we’ve shown that over the last two years here. You don’t even have to say anything, that’s just automatic.”

3 – Avoiding the mumps

Some eyebrows were raised in the press box midway through the game when the Canucks tweeted that defenseman Luca Sbisa would not return with the stomach flu. That’s one of the early warning signs of the mumps, meaning Sbisa could have exposed some Sharks to the virus, which is making its way through the Vancouver dressing room.

“What are you going to do? We’ve just got to cross our fingers and get outta here and hope that he didn’t rub up against anybody,” DeBoer said.

The Sharks coach said after the game that he thought “most of our guys” have had vaccinations, but “I believe there’s a couple that haven’t.”

After the virus invaded several NHL dressing rooms two seasons ago, the Sharks’ training staff will likely be on the lookout for symptoms when the team reconvenes on Monday. Hopefully, the outbreak will begin and end in Vancouver this time.

“Definitely, you want to make sure that you stay away from all that stuff,” Boedker said.