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Kings Make the Playoffs, Then Lose to the Sharks in a Shootout

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This is what the Kings and Kings' fans hope to see a lot at the STAPLES Center this season. (LAist/Jimmy Bramlett)
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When the schedule came out, everybody circled the final home-and-home series against the San Jose Sharks knowing those two games would dictate a lot about playoff seedings and perhaps even division titles. Well look at what we had coming into Thursday night: the Pacific Division still undecided, the final playoff spots still in the air and a fight to the finish between the Kings and the Sharks.

Literally it was a fight between the Kings and the Sharks. Drew Doughty v. Joe Thornton. Matt Greene v. Ryan Clowe. Kyle Clifford v. Ryan Clowe. Daniel Winnik v. the space vacated by Dustin Brown. Torrey Mitchell’s face v. Jason Demers’ stick. Mitchell did not return to the game.

For a while it looked to be a sure Kings victory in the second period. The Kings led 3-1, and then reality struck. It was April, and it was the San Jose Sharks so of course the Kings would lose 6-5 in the shootout.

That moment came with 90 seconds left in the second period: goaltender Jonathan Quick after playing the puck behind the net got a little too loose and clipped Dominic Moore getting the interference call. Joe Thornton scored the goal a minute later to get the Sharks to within a goal, and suddenly everything changed.

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After Clowe blocked a shot from the right point by Slava Voynov early in the third period, he had nothing between him and Quick going the other way. Naturally Clowe got the equalizer, and it was last year’s Game 3 of the playoffs all over again.

What ensued during the remainder of the third period was one of the wildest rides seen around these parts in quite some time. Each team scored two power play goals, but the epitome of the craziness came here:

Yes. Ryan Clowe played the puck while sitting on the bench. Not only did this happen, but no penalty was called. As you can tell by the reaction from the crowd, everyone saw Clowe touch the puck except the referees and linesmen on the ice. And Clowe.

“I have no idea what you guys are talking about,” Clowe said after the game. “I’ll have to see the video or something. Someone show me the video.”

Obviously the stripes needed to see the video. “They didn’t see it,” head coach Darryl Sutter said. “Obviously they didn’t, right? I couldn’t text them or anything.”

Right as the puck dropped at a standing-room only crowd of 18,330 at STAPLES Center, the Dallas Stars lost to the Nashville Predators 2-0 clinching a playoff spot for the Kings and Phoenix Coyotes. During the first period, the Colorado Avalanche lost 5-2 to the Columbus Blue Jackets clinching the final playoff spot for the San Jose Sharks.

And as a result of this game, the Kings are still in the lead in the Pacific Division thanks to holding the tiebreaker over the San Jose Sharks, both teams having 94 points. Phoenix Coyotes have 93 points and eighth in the conference but hold a game in hand from both teams. Nothing is decided yet, and anything can happen over the next couple of days.

LA Dodgers defeat San Diego Padres 5-3. It seems like Dodgers’ opening day starter Clayton Kershaw came down with a similar plague that afflicted me. However he was much less of a whiny pussy than I am about things like this, so he actually showed up to work. Unfortunately he lasted only three innings after managing to catch Chase Headley looking on a strike three with the bases loaded.

The wildness of Padres’ starter Edison Volquez allowed the Dodgers to bag their first two runs in the fourth, and the wildness of the Padres defense allowed the Dodgers to add another run in the fifth. But most impressively was Matt Kemp who made Brad Brach pay for a fastball straight down the middle in the eighth inning: Kemp took it opposite field for the first homer of the season.

For his two innings relieving Kershaw, Josh Lindbloom got the victory. Javy Guerra, continuing where he left off last season, notched his first save with a perfect ninth inning.

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LA Clippers defeat Sacramento Kings 93-85.

Anaheim Ducks defeat Edmonton Oilers 3-2 (OT).

TONIGHT’S ACTION
LA Dodgers at San Diego Padres. 7:05 p.m. KCAL9, AM 570 KLAC.
Kansas City Royals at LA Angels. 7:05 p.m. FSWest, AM 830 KLAA.
Houston Rockets at LA Lakers. 7:30 p.m. FS Prime Ticket, AM 710 KSPN.