Sharks clinch playoff berth thanks to Kings' loss

The Edmonton Oilers long playoff drought can finally end Tuesday night if they beat the Los Angeles Kings at Rogers Place.

"It's a special feeling tonight, especially seeing how passionate the crowd was and how excited they were", said Edmonton forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. "We've had some tough years, but it's all worth it right now". Connor McDavid scored a lucky goal, er.

"It's definitely special, you saw the excitement in the building", McDavid said.

"These fans have gone through a lot over the last little bit and they've done a great job to stick with us", Jordan Eberle said. I know that. We have a lot of work to do.

"That is just a checkmark next to our name", Talbot said.

But in his first two years with the team, Talbot has given the Oilers consistently above average play in net, and has been at his absolute best this season.

Jarome Iginla scored and Jonathan Quick finished with 27 saves for the Kings, who have lost four of their last five and whose playoff hopes are hanging on by a thread.

"At this time of year you want to be locking up playoff spots and getting ready for a big push", said Kings assistant captain Jeff Carter. If we are being honest here there might only be one other player in the league right now (Sidney Crosby) that is on his level. You can point your fingers at a bunch of games throughout the season that put us in this predicament.

The San Jose Sharks are headed back to the playoffs.

The Oilers eventually scored at 14:44 when McDavid's centering pass banked in off Kings defenseman Derek Forbort.

The Kings are in unfamiliar territory heading into action on Tuesday night as they are well back of the playoff picture in the Western Conference and with an 11-point mountain to climb and only eight games to do it I think it is safe to say they will not be in the running to win the Stanley Cup this season.

The Kings, with 77 points, now have just seven games left and reach a maximum of 91 points.

It's San Jose's second-straight trip to the postseason after missing the playoffs in 2015.

Notes: It was the fourth of five meetings this season between the two teams, with the Oilers taking the last two. The Sharks host Vancouver on April 4, Edmonton on April 6 and finish the regular season at home against Calgary on April 8. Among the healthy scratches for the Kings were Marian Gaborik and Andy Andreoff...

Defenceman Matthew Benning took the morning skate but isn't expected to play.

But all of that improvement offensively wouldn't have meant a thing if the Oilers couldn't find a way to solve their most glaring weakness in recent seasons: Goal prevention, both in terms of the goaltending position and the sorry state of its blue line for so many years.

  • Julie Sanders