San Jose captured their fourth consecutive Pacific Division title on Monday with a convincing 6-1 win against the Los Angeles Kings. They also jumped back ahead of Detroit for second in the Western Conference standings and are assured of being no worse than the third seed when the Stanley Cup Playoffs begin.
“You want to win your division,” Joe Thornton
said. “You get home ice. We’ve got a pretty darn good division so it’s a feather in the cap. We’ve still got some work to do. We’re fighting to get that second seed.”
“That’s nice, I’m a big believer in home ice advantage,” Boyle said. “The way we’ve been playing the last couple of months, we’re going to need our crowd come playoff time.”
The Sharks have gone 8-0-1 in their last nine games and registered five or more goals five times, including hitting six goals four times.
The players are adamant the strong offense is a result of their commitment to defense.
“Defensively we’re pretty sound, I think it starts in the D zone,” Boyle said. “We’re five guys back and blocking shots.
“We’re playing good defense which is leading to some good offense,” Thornton said. “We’re patient and our goal scorers are scoring.”
As impressive as the recent offensive numbers the face that San Jose has surrendered just four goals in the last four games.
Sharks center Joe Thornton
registered a goal and an assist and now stands just one point from his NHL milestone 1,000th point.
“You don’t really think about it, you want to win, you want to win the Pacific and go on from there,” Thornton said. “I’m not focusing on it at all.”
His 20th goal of the season gives him 11 consecutive seasons of 20 goals or more. It is the second longest active streak in the NHL next to Jarome Iginla’s 12.
GORDIE HOW WOULD BE PROUD
Sharks blueliner Dany Boyle registered a Gordie Howe hat trick with a fight, a goal and an assist.
“I wasn’t aware of the Gordie Howe hat trick to be honest,” Boyle said. “I just turned around and saw two guys kind of hitting at Dougie. I know he could probably take two guys any day of the week, but just wanted to go in there and help him out like he’s been doing for me all year. It just kind of happened pretty quickly.”
Boyle is not normally one to mix it up, but when his partner facing two Kings, his competitive nature took over. He took a bit of ribbing, but every Sharks player knew the type of teammate Dan Boyle
is and said the fight was an extension of that.
“I’m not sure how much of a fight it was, I thought he had his gloves on the whole time,” Thornton joked. “Dan’s a competitor and obviously something happened to make him that upset.”
“Dougie had two guys and he was missing the fight to complete the hat trick,” quipped Vlasic. “Doug Murray probably sticks up for him 100 percent of the time and Dan Boyle
does it tonight. It’s nice to see a guy who doesn’t fight stick up for a guy that fights a lot.”\
With a goal and two assists tonight, Joe Pavelski
extended his point streak to ten games (6-14=20).
It was announced at one point that Vlasic had two goals (one really was Kyle Wellwood’s), but the crowd was pushing for the hat trick.
“It was nice they chanted my name,” Vlasic said. “Welly got his stick on it. I knew all along. If I would have got the third one, maybe I would have kept it (Vlasic said with a smile).”
left the game in the first period and did not return.
“Clowe is just a lower body,” McLellan said. “He tweaked something and is getting looked at right now. We’ll see how he is for tomorrow.
recorded his first career NHL assist.
NO GOALSPatrick Marleau
may not have recorded another two-goal night, but he did have two helpers for his sixth multi-point game in the last seven contests.
SHARKS HEAD COACH TODD MCLELLAN
“We shot the puck a lot, and we were able to find loose ones for second opportunities. We knew they were going to be a very good defensive team coming in, and they didn’t give up many, so without taking the first one you never get a chance at the second one and its part of the game plan.”
“I was happy we got to use everybody tonight. There were some good minutes had by our fourth line, it was nice to see guys get rewarded offensively. We’ll move on and talk about getting ready to play the next game.”
“We know we will be in the two or three spot, and as the playoffs roll around we get the opportunity to start in front of our great fans, we worked hard to earn that right and now we need to take advantage of it when it does arrive.”
KINGS HEAD COACH TERRY MURRAY
“When you come into this building, you know you have to play good. You’ve gotta show up and compete real hard. We gave up that first goal. We gave up goals I don’t like. You’ve gotta show up against a real good hockey club and play well and we didn’t do that.”
“They came right back after we made it a 2–1 game and that’s just the way they approach business. They come right back and score and then after that it was all their game.”
“We weren’t in position. Whether it was on the checking part of the game or puck possession. When we had possession we were not in the proper lanes. Our center man was not there. Our wingers were not in position. Our defensemen were looking up. There was no way to get the pucks up ice unless they get their feet going and get to the red line themselves. It got a little bit better in the second half of the game but early, my goodness. Structurally, we were really broken down.”
The Shark will visit Anaheim Wednesday at 7 p.m. and the game will be on CSN California, 98.5/102.1 KFOX and www.sjsharks.com.