Kings: Richards scores a short-hander, Sharks tie it, 1-1

After the 1st period:

Kings 1, San Jose Sharks 1

The good: The Kings struck first with a short-handed goal by Mike Richards with 4:34 left in the opening period. Anze Kopitar had gone to the penalty box for goaltender interference 52 seconds earlier. The Kings forced a turnover in their defensive end and defenseman Willie Mitchell slid the puck along the wall to Richards, who started a 2-on-1 with Jeff Carter. Richards skated toward the middle of the ice and took the shot, banking it off the side of goalie Antti Niemi and into the top of the net for his 16thgoal of the season and the eighth short-hander for the Kings. Niemi, who was pulled Monday night in a 5-3 loss against the Ducks, was clearly unhappy with the goal.

The bad: The Kings must have forgot the Sharks were still on the power play because they tied the score 22 seconds later while Kopitar was still in the box. Martin Havlat carried the puck with speed into the offensive zone and fired a shot at the net, but it hit the skate of defenseman Rob Scuderi. The puck came right back to Havlat and he beat Kings goalie Jonathan Quick with the second chance.

The in between: The day began with six teams separated by two points in a battle for the final three playoff spots, and all six are going head-to-head with a playoff contender from the same group. The last thing the Kings need is three-point games in the other two. Well, the Coyotes scored two late goals to tie Dallas and turn that into a three-pointer, as the Stars eventually won in a shootout. They extended their Pacific Division lead over the Kings by three points and the seventh-place Coyotes moved two points ahead of L.A. In the other game, Calgary and Colorado are tied, 1-1, heading into overtime, so there’s another three points that will be divided up. If this game ends in regulation, the losing team will surely be the biggest loser on the day.