The Sharks’ 6-2 win over the Los Angeles Kings on Sunday night moved them back into a tie with the Dallas Stars for the fifth place in the Western Conference. San Jose and the Stars each have 102 points. Anaheim leads both teams in the Pacific Division with 106.
“We still have a chance to catch Anaheim,” San Jose coach Ron Wilson said. “We have to win on Wednesday night against the Ducks and then get a break or two to win the division. And, Dallas is still in the mix too.”
Wilson was especially pleased about the Sharks’ second period where they scored four goals and turned a tie game into a rout. “I loved the way we possessed them in the second. We just put the thing away.”
The Kings have scored eight goals in their past five games with six of the eight coming on power plays. They’ve lost four straight.
“They just dominated us in the second period,” Los Angeles coach Marc Crawford said. “Obviously they smelled blood and they were way too much for us to handle.”
Jonathan Cheechoo continues to dominate. He had his third three-goal game of the season on Sunday. It was his eighth career hat trick. And over his past 10 games, he has 17 points (12 goals and five assists).
Cheechoo broke open the 1-1 game when he scored his first goal at 2:49 of the second from the top of the blue line on a power play.
His second goal gave San Jose a 3-1 lead and his third goal of the period gave the Sharks a 5-1 lead when he converted on a power play. Cheechoo, who led the NHL in goals last season with 56, has 35 this season.
“It’s not really that big of a deal,” Cheechoo said of his hat trick. “The whole team is going well and that’s more important. You can’t wait for the playoffs to start to play well. You want to be on a roll when they do.”
With three games left – including two at home – the Sharks could surpass their club-record 104 points in 2003-04. The team’s final three games are against the Ducks, Calgary and Vancouver.
Cheechoo’s, linemate, Joe Thornton had four assists to move into second place behind Sidney Crosby of Pittsburgh for the NHL scoring lead with 109 points. Crosby has 117.
“We had a shaky first period drawing some penalties,” Thornton said. “But we settled down in the second and really dominated.
“Obviously you want to be playing well going down the stretch. And, Cheechoo has been. He makes my job so much easier. He’s playing great right now.”
Milan Michalek and Patrick Rissmiller added goals for the Sharks.
The Sharks opened the scoring at the 2:49 mark when Mark Bell took a pass from Patrick Marleau and sent a shot past Kings goalie Sean Burke.
Los Angeles tied it in the first when Mike Cammalleri scored on a five-on-three power play when he grabbed a pass from Patrick O’Sullivan and caught Sharks goalie Evgeni Nabokov leaning the other way.
Alexander Frolov scored the Kings second goal with 11:11 remaining in the third period. It was his 35th goal of the season.
Highly touted rookie Jack Johnson of the Kings, who made his NHL debut Thursday in Los Angeles, still hasn’t scored a point. The 20-year-old defenceman has taken just one shot in his first two games.
Notes: The Sharks finished March with a 10-2-2 record. It was their second 10-win month of the season, they won 10 in November. … At the beginning of third period, the Los Angeles replaced Burke in goal with Mathieu Garon. … The goal the Kings gave up in the first was their 83rd first-period goal allowed this season. … San Jose finished the season with a 6-2-0 record against L.A.