The San Jose Sharks are not out of the Western Conference playoff race, any more than the Kings were out of it a few days ago. The Sharks are in 10th place, still only two points behind the eighth-place Kings. That’s the good news for the Sharks. The bad news is, they can’t afford many more slip-ups. The Sharks host a strong Boston team on Thursday, and then seven of their final eight games are against teams currently ahead of them in the standings. That’s an opportunity to make up ground, but it also presents a small margin for error. It’s still unthinkable that the Sharks, with all their talent, would miss the playoffs, but time is running short. Of course, the Kings and Sharks meet at the end of the season, in a home-and-home series that is all but certain to hold some significance for at least one of the teams, if not both. Those games figure to be as intense as anything in the playoffs. Here’s how the San Jose Mercury News covered last night’s game, followed by some additional postgame quotes from the Sharks’ locker room…

San Jose Sharks lose to Los Angeles Kings 5-2

—–

COACH TODD MCLELLAN
(on the game recap…) “I thought our effort was much better tonight than it was last night. They’re a good team and when you look at the game, I thought we had a fairly good start, a good first period, against a team that was rested and ready to play at home. … They played a very hard second period. When we regrouped, I thought we came out in the third (period) and had some jump on the penalties and it just hurt us. We can’t put ourselves in that situation against a team like this. Even after that we had some push-back in our game. The effort was better tonight than it was last night, if we are comparing the two games.’’

(on the difference between the teams in the game…) “I thought they were harder along the boards, they won more board battles, they came up with loose pucks on their forecheck more than we came up with ours. They used their size and they used their board play to their advantage, especially in the second period. That wore us out a little bit. They knew we played the night before. We regrouped between periods and we came out with the energy that we needed, but the penalties really hurt us.’’

—–

DAN BOYLE
(on the difference between the teams in the game…) “Their effort, probably, especially in the second (period). They were all over us and were in our zone the whole time. They just had a better jump than we did, or desperation probably.’’

(on the Sharks’ penalties…) “It’s tough to give up that much time on the power play. (With) 5-on-3 and 4-on-3, it’s tough to kill for that long. We came back with a big second goal, but their fourth (goal) probably killed us.’’

(on the Sharks’ effort…) “Both teams are trying. I’m not saying that we aren’t trying. I just want to be clear on that. They were probably trying harder.’’

(on how to get more effort…) “You work as hard as you can; you need everybody. I think when we have guys going and others aren’t, that isn’t going to work at this time of year. We need everybody—six D men, our goalie, all four lines. No matter if you play five minutes or 25 minutes, you have to show up.’’

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