The San Jose Sharks gave their fans a terrific regular season send off as they routed the Los Angeles Kings 5-2. San Jose set a franchise record by recording their 108th point of the season and kept open their chances of finishing with the top record in the NHL on HP Fan Appreciation Night.
“There is still a remote possibility of winning the Presidents’ Trophy,” said Sharks Head Coach Ron Wilson.
After the victory, Sharks players rewarded lucky fans with jersey presentations on the ice and enjoyed the festive atmosphere.
“It’s great that we’ll be starting the playoffs at home,” said Joe Thornton
. “We’ve been on fire here and to end it like that is nice. The fans are going to be a big part of our success.”
Thornton received a standing ovation when he was put on the video board after notching his 300th point as a Sharks player.
“The fans have been great since I got here,” said Thornton. “I love them. They are the best fans.”
Thornton appreciated the ovation his cousin Scott received when he was also put on the board to honor his time in San Jose.
“That’s the kind of people here,” said Thornton. “I think Scottie teared up.”
Just how long of a ride the Sharks can take their fans in the postseason is the question now.
“Every night we expect so much from each other,” said Thornton. “We’re on a great run and it’s a very positive atmosphere.”
Some are asking if the Sharks too hot too early as they are on an 18-0-2 stretch, taking an amazing 38 of the last 40 possible points.
“I love to win every night,” said Thornton. “We’ll continue to push each other.”
BACK TO FORECHECKING
Curtis Brown pushed his goal scoring streak to three when his line forced a turnover in the offensive zone. Tomas Plihal kept the puck in by knocking it out of the air and then Jody Shelley located it after a bad bounce on the glass. The Sharks tough guy then made a sweet pass to give Brown a wide open shot.
“We said before we went out, ‘let’s have a good forecheck,’” said Brown. “(Plihal) did a great job and we got a lucky bounce off our glass. Jody made a nice pass between the legs. When you have a good forecheck, you make your opponents uncomfortable.”
Brian Campbell has seen the Sharks go 16-0-2 since his arrival, and while enjoying the regular season ride, he is already eyeing the bigger prize.
“It won’t mean a whole lot if you’re not successful in the playoffs,” said Campbell who scored in his home debut with San Jose and in the last regular season game at HP Pavilion this year.
COULD BE A RECORD
With two more starts, Nabokov could reach a record held by Martin Brodeur, but Wilson would like to keep Brian Boucher in game shape as well.
“The plan right now is for Boucher to play in L.A. and for Nabby to play in Dallas,” said Wilson. “I talked with Nabby about that today. If Nabby plays in both, Boucher will not have played in a long time. He (Boucher) had a great game in L.A. and deserves to start.”
Record or not, Wilson thinks his netminder is playing the best of any NHLer.
“I think he should win the Vezina,” said Wilson.
CLOSE TO THE PP MARKPatrick Marleau
(18-26=44) scored his 18th goal of the season on the power play and is now two power play goals shy of tying Owen Nolan for the franchise record (75).
Jeremy Roenick (14-18=32) continued his three game point streak (1-2=3) with an assist on Marleau’s power play goal.
With a power play goal and an assist, Campbell is on a career-high six-game point streak (1-6=7).
In his second game since returning to the lineup, Ryane Clowe
posted an assist on Michalek’s goal, beginning a two-game point streak (0-2=2).
KINGS HEAD COACH MARC CRAWFORD
“We didn’t get much of an opportunity tonight because we were killing penalties all night.”
“I’m proud of our guys. They were battling there tails off all night. It was a three goal difference in the end and at the time it was a one goal game and we were right in it. We’ve been battling hard and it’s tough to battle hard when you don’t have a lot to battle for. So I appreciate the type of effort my guys are giving right now. They are really sticking together and tonight you can see how mad they were when calls went against us.”
“It’s tough to beat that team when you are playing against their power play all night.”
The Sharks will visit the Kings Thursday night at 7:30 p.m. and the game will be on Comcast SportsNet, 98.5 KFOX and www.sjsharks.com.