LOS ANGELES (AP) — The San Jose Sharks lost a hockey game, but
still won a trophy.
Wayne Simmonds had a goal and an assist, and Jonathan Quick made
27 saves as the Los Angeles Kings finished their season with a
4-3 win over the Sharks, who managed to clinch the Presidents’
Trophy anyway on Saturday.
San Jose secured the top record in the NHL (53-18-11) for the
first time in club history when the Boston Bruins lost 6-1 at
Buffalo earlier in the day.
Michal Handzus, Alexander Frolov and Peter Harrold also scored
for the Kings (34-37-11), who didn’t qualify for the playoffs.
Devin Setoguchi, Joe Pavelski and Patrick Marleau had goals for
San Jose, which wrapped up the regular season and will be the
top-seeded team in the Western Conference playoffs.
“It feels good, that’s what we worked for all year,” Sharks
forward Milan Michalek said. “Now we have to forget about it and
start getting ready for the playoffs.”
Despite securing the best record in the league, the Sharks are
stumbling into the postseason. They also lost 4-1 at home
against Phoenix on Thursday and needed a shootout to beat
last-place Colorado 1-0 on Tuesday.
“It’s certainly not the way you want to finish your season with
two losses,” defenseman Dan Boyle said. “Both games I think
there have been some good things and we’ll try and focus on
that. Without a doubt there has been a lot of mistakes and
turnovers and key defensive mistakes.”
The Kings were able to gain some solace in winning their season
finale. They had lost five prior games to San Jose this season
(0-3-2), while being outscored 13-6.
“If you’re not going to make the playoffs, you want to go out
with a win,” Kings defenseman Matt Greene said. “You try to end
the season on a positive note as much as you can. I think we did
that. We went out and got a big win and played well.”
Los Angeles reversed its earlier struggles against San Jose
largely because of Quick, who faced the Sharks for the first
time. The rookie from Connecticut emerged as the Kings’ top
goalie while playing in 44 of Los Angeles’ final 51 games. He
was especially sharp over the final weeks, posting a .938 save
percentage in the last 10 games.
“Quick has played tremendous for us,” said Terry Murray, who
completed his first season as Kings coach. “Every game he has
given us the opportunity to win.”
The Sharks took a 1-0 lead when Setoguchi corralled a rebound
during a power play and swiped the puck around Quick just 5:41
into the game.
Handzus tied it, with an assist from Simmonds, when he ripped a
shot from the left circle that deflected off Sharks defenseman
Marc-Edouard Vlasic and past goalie Evgeni Nabokov at 10:42.
Frolov then whisked around from behind the net and put a
backhanded wraparound under Nabokov to make it 2-1 just over 4
The Kings pushed their advantage to two goals in the second as
Simmonds sent a 40-foot wrist shot by Nabokov during a power
play at 4:28.
“We played hard today and played for each other, it showed,”
said Simmonds, who had five points (3 goals, 2 assists) in the
final four games of his rookie season.
San Jose got within 3-2 later in the second as Pavelski tipped
in a shot by Vlasic during a power play.
Vlasic earned his 30th assist of the season, making the Sharks
the fourth team in NHL history to have four defenseman who had
at least 30 assists. Dan Boyle (41), Rob Blake (35) and
Christian Ehrhoff (34) had already reached the mark.
Harrold and Marleau matched goals in the third.