LOS ANGELES (AP) _ A playoff berth, a division title, and countless team
records are not enough for the resurgent San Jose Sharks.
``You're always looking for something different to motivate yourselves,''
Sharks coach Ron Wilson said after a 3-0 victory Wednesday night over the Los
``We could finish second overall in the league,'' he said. ``We certainly
did not set out for this at the beginning of the year, but once you get
yourself in a position, we went on the attack.''
Alyn McCauley and Niko Dimitrakos scored 29 seconds apart in the second
period, leading the San Jose.
The Sharks clinched the Pacific Division earlier Wednesday when Dallas lost
to Edmonton. San Jose will be the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference playoffs
``We've surprised a lot of people and even ourselves a little bit,''
defenseman Kyle McLaren said. ``Especially coming off last year and not making
the playoffs by a fair bit. We thought we had a good team coming into training
camp but we exceeded expectations. Nobody thought we would be battling for
Last year, the Sharks finished 14th in the West but they rebounded this
season to establish a franchise record with 102 points and their highest
San Jose, with two home games remaining, is two points behind Tampa Bay for
the second best record in the NHL.
A big reason for the Sharks strong showing has been goaltending and defense.
Evgeni Nabokov made 22 saves to earn his 30th win and ninth shutout of the
``We've worked on things the last couple of weeks to keep our goals against
down,'' McLaren said. ``We are much better on the road.''
The Kings have lost nine consecutive games (0-8-0-1), including five
straight at home. They are one defeat short of tying the franchise record of 10
straight, set during the 1983-84 season.
``The bottom line when you are a kid and you dream of playing in the NHL, if
somebody would say to you you're going to play the last three games with the
L.A. Kings even though they are not in the playoffs you would play all out,''
Kings forward Luc Robitaille said. ``You would give everything that you have. I
think that is where we have to be as a team.''
After a scoreless first period, McCauley swiped in a rebound of Alexander
Korolyuk's shot at 10:10 of the second. Roman Cechmanek made an initial save of
a breakaway shot by Dimitrakos 29 seconds later but the puck fell into the net
as Cechmanek lost his balance and began to topple over.
McCauley scored his 20th goal into an empty net with two minutes to play.
``It was far from an acceptable effort, we didn't do many of the things we
are supposed to do,'' Kings forward Trent Klatt said. ``We didn't win
one-on-one battles, we just didn't do a lot of good things.''
San Jose set the franchise record for road wins (19) while playing away from
home for the final time in the regular season. The Sharks have also earned a
team-best 46 road points.