The San Jose Sharks have clinched a playoff spot. They can still win the Pacific Division title.
The Sharks, battling two other NHL heavyweights for the Pacific crown, look to keep the pressure on when they host the Los Angeles Kings on Sunday.
San Jose (48-26-4) has gone 10-1-2 in its last 13 games to pull into contention for the division championship. With four games remaining, the Sharks are trying to outlast fellow 100-point teams Anaheim and Dallas, and they face the division-leading Ducks on Wednesday.
Patrick Rissmiller had a goal and an assist as the Sharks cruised to a 4-2 win over Phoenix on Friday, their season high-tying fifth straight at home.
“We’ve played better as of late,” Rissmiller said. “We can get the job done.”
San Jose allowed only one power-play goal while killing off eight penalties, its highest total since holding Calgary to a 1-for-10 performance Oct. 9.
Despite the success on the penalty kill, the Sharks were concerned with the number of opportunities they surrendered against the Coyotes. San Jose, headed toward its third straight playoff appearance, is the NHL’s third-least penalized team with 309 times short-handed.
“We did a good job, but you don’t want to be killing that many penalties,” said defenseman Scott Hannan, who recorded his third goal of the season in the third period. “There’s mistakes that we need to take out of our game.”
After taking advantage of last-place Phoenix, the Sharks look to extend their win streak against division opponents to a season-high five games as they face another struggling team in the Kings (26-38-14).
Eliminated from playoff consideration for the fourth straight season, Los Angeles has lost three in a row, including a 4-2 defeat to Vancouver on Thursday. The Kings are second-worst in the West with 3.36 goals allowed per game, and have given up at least three goals in seven of their last eight contests.
Snapping the skid could be a challenge for Los Angeles, which has won a conference-low 11 road games. The Sharks, meanwhile, are 23-12-3 at HP Pavilion.
San Jose has dominated the series with Los Angeles over the past five years, going 19-5-1 with one tie since the start of the 2002-03 season.
The Sharks lead the season series 5-2-0 heading into Sunday’s finale, and haven’t lost to the Kings more than twice in a season since 2001-02, when they went 1-4-0.
The teams last met Tuesday, when Patrick Marleau had two goals and an assist to lead the Sharks to a 3-1 win.