SAN JOSE -- At the end, it came down to Sharks forward Raffi Torres -- a player known more for his hard hits than his soft hands -- sliding the puck through the legs of Los Angeles Kings goalie Jonathan Quick.

With that shootout goal, the Sharks moved into a virtual tie with the Los Angeles Kings for fourth place in the Western Conference with a 3-2 victory over the defending Stanley Cup champions Tuesday night at HP Pavilion.

"Oh yeah, I don't play in overtime so, I don't know, I was kind of cold on the bench," Torres said. "But when you get called, you've got to trust your practice habits. I have one move. It was either that or just try and shoot and hope and pray."

In reality, the intense 65 minutes of up-tempo hockey only whet the appetite for a possible series between San Jose and the Kings -- a matchup that would occur if the season ended today. Both teams now have 53 points, with the Kings holding the tiebreaker advantage of regulation and overtime wins.

"It felt like a playoff game," defenseman Dan Boyle said. "Both teams know what's at stake and neither team wanted to make the last mistake. It was a huge two points. Obviously our regulation wins are not as great as anybody else, which just means we've got to win the extra game to get positioning."

Before Torres's game-winner, the Sharks offense came from Brent Burns and TJ Galiardi on the same shift in the second period. San Jose didn't enjoy the lead long, however, as Los Angeles drew even before the same period ended on goals by Jake Muzzin and Dustin Brown.

While both teams skated hard at each other from the start, neither scored until Burns took over the ice as the second period neared its midpoint. Over a 42-second span, he racked up a goal and an assist as the Sharks jumped out to a 2-0 lead.

First he intercepted a careless clearing attempt by Kings forward Dustin Penner, skated a few strides into the right faceoff circle and fired a 19-foot wrist shot that beat Quick at 8:48.

Later on the same shift, Los Angeles defenseman Robyn Regher gave the puck away behind his own net, Burns scooped it up and then found Galiardi cutting across the crease. Galiardi didn't miss at 9:30.

Back-to-back Sharks penalties that period -- a tripping call on Galiardi, a cross-checking call against Jason Demers -- helped Los Angeles get back in the game by giving the Kings a 5-on-3 advantage for 1:13.

The Sharks survived that, but before Demers could get back on the ice, Muzzin launched a shot from the blue line through traffic that beat a screened Sharks goalie Antti Niemi at 13:59. And the Kings knotted it up at 2-2 when Niemi couldn't get his glove on a loose puck in the crease and Brown poked it past him at 18:41.

Still, Niemi played another overall strong game, making 41 saves. His biggest may have come in overtime when he fully extended his left leg to make a pad save on Kings forward Jeff Carter, finishing off a 2-on-1 rush.

Ultimately, the game was decided when Torres scored while Niemi stopped Jeff Carter, Anze Kopitar and Mike Richards. Quick did stop shots by Logan Couture and Boyle.

  • Defenseman Scott Hannan played his 938th game as a Shark on Monday night -- six years after he played his 937th.

    Acquired at the NHL trade deadline to provide playoff depth on the blue line, Hannan has been recovering from a neck injury suffered last month while playing with the Nashville Predators.

    McLellan paired Hannan with Boyle, sitting Boyle's regular partner, Matt Irwin.

    Thursday's game
    Minnesota (24-16-3) at Sharks (23-13-7), 7:30 p.m., CSNCA

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