April 5, 2012; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Kings players engage San Jose Sharks players during the first period at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-US PRESSWIRE
Despite the Sharks' win in the shootout, the Kings hold on to the division lead, but only after one of the wackiest games this season.
In a game where Joe Thornton and Drew Doughty dropped gloves, you'd have to know this game would be wacky from that moment on. Thursday's game between the San Jose Sharks and Los Angeles Kings did not disappoint, resulting in a wild 6-5 Sharks shootout win.
The match between the two division rivals was already set to be highly anticipated. The officiating upped the ante, playing a major role in how the game panned out. About halfway through the game, it was as if the officials were looking to trade calls, missing many legitimate infractions. They would then have a few moments where they decided to make their presence felt before fading away again, to put it gently. The officials' presence was certainly noticeable in the third period, when both teams traded four straight power play goals, two by each team. The final set of calls in regulation that resulted in a 5-on-3 man advantage for L.A. tied the game up.
On the second half of the power play, one of the most ridiculous missed calls of the night came with about 2:45 left in the game. Jarret Stoll, who had already scored a power play goal to give the Kings a 2-1 lead in the second period, was skating down along the boards next to Logan Couture. It seemed as though Stoll would pass Couture, so Ryane Clowe saw it fit to poke-check the puck away from Stoll -- from the bench.
Evidence exists to prove that Clowe was, in fact, on the bench, and stuck his stick on the ice to poke the puck away:
Clowe's response to questions about the play: "I don't remember that play." Of course you don't, Ryane.
But after all, what's to expect from a game with some offense from the Kings and Gordie Howe hat tricks from Thornton and Clowe?
Thanks to a Dallas Stars loss in Nashville, both the Sharks and Kings were in the playoffs before the game was completed. Because L.A. earned the loser point from the shootout and have the current tie-breaker over San Jose, they remain first in the Pacific and in third, while the Sharks bump up to seventh.
Saturday's rematch in San Jose will certainly be "must-see" TV.