After 1-year hiatus, Sharks headed back to playoffs

It took a few tries, but the San Jose Sharks will have a chance to play for the Stanley Cup.

The club officially clinched a playoff berth Monday night when the Arizona Coyotes lost to the Calgary Flames, but San Jose also took care of business on its own. The Sharks registered a 5-2 win over in-state rivals the Los Angeles Kings in a hard-fought game that felt a lot like a postseason encounter.

After missing the playoffs last year, and parting ways with head coach Todd McLellan, the Sharks are headed back to the dance for the 11th time in 12 seasons, and 18th time in franchise history.

Monday night's win was only the Sharks' 17th at home. Peter DeBoer's troops have been road warriors all season, their 25 wins away from the SAP Center tying them with the Washington Capitals for most in the NHL.

The win was goaltender Martin Jones' 36th, in a season in which he's proven he's a No. 1 goalie.

Now the hard part: 16 more wins in the postseason.

Copyright © 2016 Score Media Ventures Inc. All rights reserved. Certain content reproduced under license.

Report: Bettman met with Arizona legislators, ASU officials about new arena

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman was in Phoenix on Monday and, along with Arizona Coyotes president Anthony LeBlanc, met with a number of key players in the region regarding a new arena, Arizona Sports' Craig Morgan reports.

Phoenix mayor and other city officials were also in attendance, Morgan writes.

Sportsnet's John Shannon adds that the "tone of (the) meetings were positive," and "that an early May timeframe for a commitment is real, and someone will meet that timeline."

The Coyotes currently play at Gila River Arena, with their lease set to expire after next season. The future of the desert-based club is seemingly always in question, but especially so after Glendale voided the club's 15-year lease agreement last year.

At a Coyotes town hall meeting Saturday, LeBlanc said an arena announcement should come down at some point over the next six weeks, Morgan adds.

"I will never say never, but it's highly, highly unlikely," LeBlanc added, about the club staying in Glendale long term.

Copyright © 2016 Score Media Ventures Inc. All rights reserved. Certain content reproduced under license.

VIDEO: Kings’ Quick uses stick to make one of the best saves of the season

If Logan Couture didn't hate Jonathan Quick before, he sure does now.

With three seconds left in the second period, the score tied 2-2, the Los Angeles Kings goaltender made an unbelievable desperation save by using his goalie stick to rob the San Jose Sharks forward of what looked to be a sure goal.

Couture already had his hands in the air in celebration. Yeah.

Here's a still of the save that will make you appreciate it that much more:

Copyright © 2016 Score Media Ventures Inc. All rights reserved. Certain content reproduced under license.

Avalanche stay alive, keep Predators from clinching

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Blake Comeau had a goal and an assist, and the Colorado Avalanche used a fast start to edge the Nashville Predators 4-3 on Monday night.

Gabriel Landeskog and Jack Skille also scored in the first, helping Colorado chase Pekka Rinne at 11:40 after giving up three goals on 10 shots faced. Shawn Matthias's goal in the third wound up the game-winner.

The Avalanche played without centers Matt Duchene and Nathan MacKinnon because of knee injuries. But Colorado managed to stay close to Minnesota in the race for the second wild card in the Western Conference, pulling within three points of the idle Wild with six games left.

Nashville had recorded at least a point in 10 straight home games. It needed a regulation win to clinch its second straight playoff berth.

Craig Smith had a goal and an assist for the Predators, and Colton Sissons and Roman Josi scored 24 seconds apart late in the third. Carter Hutton was pulled for an extra attacker with about 90 seconds left, but the Predators couldn't beat goaltender Semyon Varlamov again as Colorado took the win and the season series 3-1 even with the final game back in Nashville on April 5.

The Predators had posted the NHL's best record since Feb. 12, with Rinne going 12-1-2 over his last 15 games. They were coming off a 5-1 win over Columbus on Saturday night that included a dominant first period.

Colorado got the strong start this time, and Nashville did not provide much help for Rinne.

Nashville defenseman Mattias Ekholm's turnover led to Comeau's goal on a wrist shot at 6:36. Landeskog scored his 19th at 10:10 when the puck went off his skate, and the goal was upheld on review. Skille chased Rinne with his tip-in off a pass from Cody McLeod. Hutton came in and faced only two shots the rest of the period.

Smith got Nashville on the board with a wrist shot past Varlamov off a nice cross-ice pass from Filip Forsberg at 17:08 of the first.

The Predators thought they had pulled within 3-2 late in the second period when Miikka Salomaki scored at 17:23. But Colorado coach Patrick Roy challenged, and officials waived off the goal with Nashville offside.

Matthias made it 4-1 at 12:13 of the third when he scored his 10th off a pass from Mikkel Boedker. Nashville made it interesting when Sissons tipped in a shot by Salomaki at 14:58, and then Josi scored on a wrister at 15:22.

NOTES: Comeau's goal was the 100th of his career. ... Duchene missed his fourth straight game and MacKinnon his third. ... Josi set the Nashville scoring record for defensemen with his 57th point this season, breaking a tie with captain Shea Weber. ... Smith's goal gave him 20 for a third straight season.

Copyright © 2016 Score Media Ventures Inc. All rights reserved. Certain content reproduced under license.

Josi sets Predators’ single-season defenseman points record

Roman Josi made Nashville Predators' history on Monday.

With a goal against Colorado, Josi recorded his 57th point, setting a new single-season club record for defensemen.

The bar was previously set by captain Shea Weber in 2013-14.

The record-breaking point came in Josi's 76th game of the season, giving him six more to work with as he looks to raise his point total even further.

Copyright © 2016 Score Media Ventures Inc. All rights reserved. Certain content reproduced under license.

Remember, we are all Canucks!