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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Thursday, April 3rd (All times Eastern)

Los Angeles Kings (45-26-6) at San Jose Sharks (48-20-9), 10:30 p.m.

(SportsNetwork.com) - While Thursday night will mark the final regular season meeting between the Los Angeles Kings and San Jose Sharks, the two clubs appear on track for a first-round playoff matchup in a few weeks.

The top three teams in each division earn playoff spots, with the second and third-place teams meeting in the opening round.

The Sharks currently are second in the Pacific Division with 105 points, three back of the first-place Anaheim Ducks and with one fewer game left on the schedule. The Ducks are idle tonight after besting the Edmonton Oilers on Wednesday.

Those two clubs had already secured playoff berths and the third-place Kings joined them thanks to last night's 4-0 triumph over the Phoenix Coyotes. That assured Los Angeles at least third place in the division, though it trails San Jose by nine points with just five to play.

That makes a first-round matchup between these clubs likely, with San Jose having home-ice advantage.

Though the Kings have won three of four versus the Sharks this season and five of the previous seven meetings overall, they had lost seven straight in San Jose before a 1-0 victory there on Jan. 27.

Anze Kopitar had the lone goal and Jonathan Quick made 23 saves for the shutout, while back Sharks goaltender Alex Stalock took a tough-luck loss with 20 saves.

Quick notched his sixth shutout of the season last night, making 17 saves to top the Coyotes. His 31 career shutouts are just one behind Rogie Vachon for the most in club history and Quick secured Los Angeles' 12th shutout as a team this season, a new franchise best.

Jeff Carter, Anze Kopitar and Tanner Pearson each had a goal and an assist, while Drew Doughty also tallied in his club's seventh victory in eight games.

The Kings are 15-4-0 in their last 19 games and secured their fifth straight trip to the postseason, but that is no longer the benchmark for a team that won the Stanley Cup in 2012.

"Maybe four or five years ago, this was a big deal," said Kings captain Dustin Brown. "Now this is just part of the process. It is good to get it out of the way now when we need to use our remaining games to get our game in order."

Los Angeles picked up its 45th victory of the campaign, one shy of a single- season club record set in 1990-91 and matched in both 2009-10 and 2010-11.

With the Kings just about locked into third place, backup Martin Jones is likely to give Quick a break tonight. Jones has recorded three of the Kings' 12 shutouts this season and beat the Sharks the only other time he faced them, stopping 31-of-32 shots faced in a 4-1 home victory on Dec. 19.

The Kings begin a four-game road trip against a Sharks club that halted a two- game slide by winning Tuesday's opener of a three-game residency 5-4 over the Oilers.

Patrick Marleau's power-play goal at the 12:31 mark of the third period lifted San Jose to the win, while Brent Burns and Dan Boyle added a goal and an assist each.

Antti Niemi stopped 25-of-29 shots as San Jose had to rally after failing to hold a 3-1 advantage.

"It's a bittersweet win," Sharks coach Todd McLellan said. "It was nice to see us come back and score five, and the power play contributed. Those types of things are nice, but I'm going to leave the rink a little more frustrated than excited. I still think our team looks lethargic. Not as much physically but mentally."

Joe Thornton finished with two assists and is second in the NHL with 63 helpers on the season.

Niemi is 11-6-3 with a 2.52 goals against average and two shutouts lifetime versus the Kings.

04/03 10:56:06 ET

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Scoreboard
Local
Final
ROC 1
DUR 2
 
1:05pm Today
ROC
DUR
 
2:30pm Friday
STONYBROOK
NCSTATE
 
7:05pm Friday
SYR
DUR
 
6:35pm Saturday
SYR
DUR
 
5:05pm Sunday
SYR
DUR
 
Final
HOU 4
BAL 1
Final
KAN 1
NYY 5
Final
MIA 1
PIT 5
Final
WAS 2
CHC 3
Final
CWS 9
TOR 10
Final
COL 1
CIN 2
Final
PHI 4
NYM 5
Final
SEA 7
TAM 6
Final
TEX 4
CLE 3
Final
BOS 1
MIN 2
Final
SFG 6
MIL 3
Final
ARI 4
STL 6
Final
DET 1
OAK 0
Final
SDP 4
ANA 0
Final
ATL 0
LOS 8
12:10pm Today
TEX
CLE
 
12:35pm Today
COL
CIN
 
12:35pm Today
MIA
PIT
 
12:37pm Today
CWS
TOR
 
1:05pm Today
KAN
NYY
 
1:10pm Today
BOS
MIN
 
1:10pm Today
PHI
NYM
 
1:10pm Today
SEA
TAM
 
1:40pm Today
SFG
MIL
 
3:35pm Today
DET
OAK
 
4:35pm Today
HOU
BAL
 
8:05pm Tonight
WAS
CHC
 
8:15pm Tonight
ARI
STL
 
10:05pm Tonight
SDP
ANA
 
10:10pm Tonight
ATL
LOS
 
1:05pm Thursday
CWS
BAL
 
4:35pm Thursday
CWS
BAL
 
8:05pm Thursday
BOS
TEX
 
10:05pm Thursday
DET
ANA
 
10:05pm Thursday
NYY
OAK
 
10:10pm Thursday
CLE
SEA
 
10:10pm Thursday
PIT
SDP
 
10:15pm Thursday
ATL
SFG
 
4:05pm Friday
KAN
CHC
 
7:05pm Friday
COL
PHI
 
7:05pm Friday
TAM
BAL
 
7:10pm Friday
MIA
NYM
 
7:10pm Friday
WAS
CIN
 
8:05pm Friday
BOS
TEX
 
8:10pm Friday
ARI
MIL
 
8:10pm Friday
CWS
HOU
 
8:10pm Friday
TOR
MIN
 
8:15pm Friday
LOS
STL
 
10:05pm Friday
DET
ANA
 
10:05pm Friday
NYY
OAK
 
10:10pm Friday
CLE
SEA
 
10:10pm Friday
PIT
SDP
 
10:15pm Friday
ATL
SFG
 
2:10pm Saturday
TOR
MIN
 
3:05pm Saturday
COL
PHI
 
4:05pm Saturday
TAM
BAL
 
4:10pm Saturday
ARI
MIL
 
4:10pm Saturday
CWS
HOU
 
4:10pm Saturday
MIA
NYM
 
4:10pm Saturday
WAS
CIN
 
7:15pm Saturday
BOS
TEX
 
7:15pm Saturday
KAN
CHC
 
7:15pm Saturday
LOS
STL
 
10:05pm Saturday
ATL
SFG
 
10:05pm Saturday
DET
ANA
 
10:05pm Saturday
NYY
OAK
 
10:10pm Saturday
CLE
SEA
 
10:10pm Saturday
PIT
SDP
 
1:10pm Sunday
MIA
NYM
 
1:10pm Sunday
WAS
CIN
 
1:35pm Sunday
COL
PHI
 
1:35pm Sunday
TAM
BAL
 
2:10pm Sunday
ARI
MIL
 
2:10pm Sunday
CWS
HOU
 
2:10pm Sunday
TOR
MIN
 
2:15pm Sunday
LOS
STL
 
2:20pm Sunday
KAN
CHC
 
3:05pm Sunday
BOS
TEX
 
4:05pm Sunday
ATL
SFG
 
4:05pm Sunday
NYY
OAK
 
4:10pm Sunday
CLE
SEA
 
8:05pm Sunday
DET
ANA
 
9:10pm Sunday
PIT
SDP
 
Final
ATL 88
CLE 118
9:00pm Tonight
HOU
GSW
 
9:00pm Friday
GSW
HOU
 
9:00pm Sunday
HOU
GSW
 
Final
NYR 7
TAM 3
8:00pm Tonight
ANA
CHI
 
8:00pm Friday
TAM
NYR
 
8:00pm Saturday
CHI
ANA
 
12:00pm Friday
AUBURN
CHARLESTON
 
1:00pm Friday
CALIFORNIA
CCAROLINA
 
1:00pm Friday
COLUMBIA
ECAROLINA
 
1:00pm Friday
ORALROBRTS
ARKANSAS
 
1:00pm Friday
OREGON
IOWA
 
1:00pm Friday
SFLORIDA
FAU
 
1:00pm Friday
WRIGHTST
NOTREDAME
 
2:00pm Friday
MICHIGAN
BRADLEY
 
2:30pm Friday
STONYBROOK
NCSTATE
 
2:30pm Friday
TEXAS
OREGONST
 
3:00pm Friday
INDIANA
RADFORD
 
3:30pm Friday
ULLAFAYETE
RICE
 
4:00pm Friday
LEHIGH
LSU
 
6:00pm Friday
CANISIUS
SWMISSOURI
 
6:00pm Friday
CLEMSON
ARIZONAST
 
6:00pm Friday
MERCER
FLORIDAST
 
6:00pm Friday
MOREHEADST
LOUISVILLE
 
6:00pm Friday
VIRGINIA
USC
 
7:00pm Friday
FIU
MIAFLA
 
7:00pm Friday
FLAAM
FLORIDA
 
7:00pm Friday
MARYLAND
MISS
 
7:00pm Friday
SACREDHART
TCU
 
7:00pm Friday
STJOHNS
OKLAHOMAST
 
7:00pm Friday
TSOUTHERN
TEXASAM
 
7:00pm Friday
VCU
DALLASBAPT
 
8:00pm Friday
HSTNBAPT
HOUSTON
 
8:00pm Friday
LIPSCOMB
VANDERBILT
 
8:00pm Friday
OHIO
ILLINOIS
 
8:00pm Friday
TULANE
NWILMINGTN
 
10:00pm Friday
PEPPERDINE
FULLERTON
 
10:00pm Friday
SANDIEGOST
CSANTABAR
 
11:00pm Friday
CSBAKER
UCLA
 
Final
ROC 1
DUR 2
 
1:05pm Today
ROC
DUR
 
7:05pm Friday
SYR
DUR
 
6:35pm Saturday
SYR
DUR
 
5:05pm Sunday
SYR
DUR