MARCH 21 2012 07:05h

NHL: Los Angeles 5, San Jose 2

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LOS ANGELES, March 21 (UPI) -- Mike Richards scored a short-handed first-period goal Tuesday and the Los Angeles Kings scored three third-period goals in a key 5-2 victory over San Jose.

Richards also had an assist in the victory, which pulled Los Angeles even with Phoenix in the scrap for the eighth playoff berth in the Western Conference.

Anze Kopitar had a goal and an assist for the Kings, who won their fifth in a row. Jonathan Quick made 20 saves.

Dan Boyle and Martin Havlat scored for San Jose and Antti Niemi stopped 37-of-41 shots.

The Sharks ended the night two points shy of the final playoff spot on the Western Conference.

Richards gave the Kings a 1-0 lead at 15:26 of the first period, but Havlat came back less than 20 seconds later with a game-tying power-play goal.

Alec Martinez put Los Angeles ahead 2-1 in the second period and the Kings iced the win with third-period goals by Kopitar, Dustin Penner and Justin Carter, who scored into an empty net with 16 seconds left to play.