The San Jose Sharks visited the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday night in the penultimate game of the season for both teams. The matchup had distinct playoff implications and true to the high tensions and emotions, the game turned into an absolute barn-burner. The Sharks were able to come away with the 6-5 shootout win in a nail-biter and hard-earned win.
Both teams had clinched a playoff spot on Thursday night, thanks to a Dallas Stars loss against the Nashville Predators, but they were now playing for the Pacific Division title and the all-important No. 3 seed in the postseason. With the win, the Sharks scoot into a tie with the Kings for first place in the division, with both teams holding 94 points.
The Kings got on the board first, when Alec Martinez scored at 8:45 of the first period on a power play goal. The Sharks tied things up at 16:27 when Jason Demers was able to find the net.
In the second period, the Kings again struck first on a power play goal, as Jarret Stoll put one past Antti Niemi at 8:54. Dustin Brown followed that up at 13:19 with his 22nd goal of the season and the Sharks were suddenly in a 3-1 goal. San Jose was able to inch closer on a power play, as Joe Thornton scored with 28 seconds left in the period.
The Sharks got it going right away in the third period, as Ryane Clowe tied the game with a goal at 1:10. The teams then traded power play goals as Justin Williams scored at 3:54 to put the Kings back on top 4-3 before Patrick Marleau tied things up at 4:55. On the sixth scoring power play of the game, Martin Havlat put one past Jonathan Quick at 12:37 to put the Sharks on top for the first time in the game.
The Kings were able to pick up a two-man advantage for 1:19 with four minutes left to play and Williams was able to shoot one past Niemi to tie things up once again at 16:29. The Sharks were able to last until the end of the power play and the Kings ferociously attacked the Sharks' net for the final minute-plus of action. San Jose managed to withstand the onslaught and the game headed into overtime.
The overtime period featured action just as furious as the final minutes of regulation. Dustin Brown was called for holding with 1:14 left in the OT period and the Sharks had a chance to put it away on the 4-on-3 overtime power play. The Sharks took several shots in the final minute, but Quick was able to save and cover with 26.1 seconds left. The Sharks had the time to take a few more shots, but were unable to find the net and the teams prepared for the shootout.
Niemi saved the first shot, but Quick saved Clowe's shot in return. Brown's shot was thankfully wide of the mark as Niemi floundered off a fake and the Sharks went up 1-0 on a Joe Pavelski top-shelf goal. Niemi then snagged a stellar glove save on an Anze Kopitar shot to secure the win after an absolute classic of a game.
The two teams will wrap up the regular season at the Shark Tank on Saturday.