Here are a few takeaways after the gripping late-season meeting Monday night between two familiar rivals:
Coming attractions? One of several potential playoff scenarios could involve a Kings-Sharks first-round series, a rematch of their 2014 meeting in the opening round.
The Sharks officially clinched a playoff berth, doing so for the 11th time in the last 12 seasons. San Jose, like the Kings, missed the playoffs last season. San Jose won three of five games against the Kings in their regular-season season series.
“We knew it was going to be tight, it always is,” said the Sharks’ Joe Pavelski, who had a goal and an assist. “Going into the third, 2-2, it’s good to see the guys step on the gas and keep going.”
Continuing areas of concern: The defense, of course, leads the list. Kings defenseman Jake Muzzin was a minus-three against the Sharks, and he may be buying his goalie Jonathan Quick a few more dinners for bailing him out on Monday night.
Muzzin’s woes extend beyond the Sharks game. He is a combined minus-nine in his last five games.
The Kings also were edged in the faceoff circle as San Jose won 61% of the draws.
Third periods, of late, have been a concern. The Kings have been outscored, 8-1, in their last three third periods.
Masterton-worthy candidate: You could say Vinny Lecavalier’s last two games were like a mini-version of what transpired in the latter stages of his long career.
Adversity followed by success.
Lecavalier followed a rough outing in Saturday’s game against the Oilers with a two-goal effort against the Sharks, the only goals scored by the Kings on Monday.
His bounce-back effort, coincidentally, came on the same day he was nominated by the Los Angeles chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Assn. as the Kings’ candidate for the Masterton Memorial Trophy.
Lecavalier seemed surprised and humbled when told of the nomination.
“It’s a great honor,” he said. “Obviously these last couple of years were tough but [you] keep battling and keep going, and hopefully I can help this team as much as I can.”