LOS ANGELES - The Kings finished their season on a high note Saturday afternoon, beating the San Jose Sharks 4-1 at STAPLES Center.
It was a positive ending for the Kings, if you want to put it that way; they were eliminated from postseason contention on Thursday. Without any pressure, and with some players likely playing their final games in a Los Angeles uniform, Saturday was more of a celebration for the roster and its fan base – who have experienced so many jubilant highs over the past three seasons.
With the win on Saturday, the Kings tied a franchise mark for points earned on home ice in a single season. With their 25-9-7 mark at STAPLES Center, the Kings pocketed 57 points in the standings, tying a mark set by the 1990-’91 club at the Great Western Forum.
“It is never a game you want to play in,” Dustin Brown said in regards to playing after elimination. “But if you are in that situation we are all competitors and want to win a game like that. It means nothing in the standings, but it means a lot for the room.”
San Jose got on the board less than two minutes into the game when Brent Burns slammed home a back-door pass from Joe Pavelski just after Robyn Regehr was called for a roughing infraction.
The Kings wouldn’t strike back until midway through the second period, when Tyler Toffoli buried his 23rd goal of the season, knocking home a pass he received from Jarret Stoll atop Alex Stalock’s crease.
Entering the third period tied 1-1, the Kings’ offense woke up, potting three more goals to carry home a 4-1 victory.
With just under 14 minutes to play in regulation, Brayden McNabb powered home a slap shot from the point, upon receiving a cross-ice pass from defensive partner Drew Doughty. McNabb’s shot caromed off of a Sharks player’s stick before finding its way past Alex Stalock.
Just over three minutes after McNabb gave the Kings the lead, Marian Gaborik provided the insurance, recording his 27th goal of the season. Gaborik, who was following the back-end of a broken play in San Jose’s zone, received a pass from Jake Muzzin then walked in on Stalock, beating the Sharks’ goaltender low to the blocker side.
Andy Andreoff netted an empty-netter, his second goal of the season, to give the Kings a 4-1 lead with 44 seconds left in the third.
Andy Andreoff (1G, 1A) and Tyler Toffoli (1G, 1A) led all Kings players in points scored (2), Marian Gaborik in shots taken (4), Kyle Clifford in hits delivered (7), three players in shots blocked (1), and Drew Doughty in minutes played (26:03). Jonathan Quick made 20 saves in the win.
With the win, the Kings’ finished the 2014-’15 season with a 40-27-15 record, and an impressive 25-9-7 record on home ice at STAPLES Center. The Kings finished the season with 97 points in the standings, two shy of what they would have needed to qualify for the postseason.