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Richards got the Kings started late in the first period, breaking out on a 2-on-1 short-handed rush and firing a shot past Niemi for his 16th goal. Havlat evened it with his fourth goal in four games since returning from a 39-game absence with a hamstring injury.
Kopitar's behind-the-net pass in the second period set up Martinez's goal. The Sharks then lost discipline and took three straight high-sticking penalties early in the third period -- and San Jose had another delayed penalty looming when Kopitar netted his team-leading 24th goal.
Los Angeles could have had more, but failed to score during 52 seconds of 5-on-3 play -- and Boyle trimmed the lead back to one goal by finishing a tic-tac-toe play with 13:04 left, snapping a 16-game goal drought for the star defenseman.
A few shifts after Kopitar put a backhand off the post with less than 6 minutes to play, Penner slipped into the San Jose end and surprised Niemi with a low wrist shot. The power forward has been a disappointment with just seven goals, but Penner has scored in consecutive games.
NOTES: Richards has scored three of the Kings' eight short-handed goals this season, ranking him third in the NHL. He has 26 in his career, the most in the NHL over the past seven seasons. ... Martinez has two goals in three games after failing to score since Nov. 12. ... San Jose has missed the playoffs once since 1997. ... Los Angeles' Darryl Sutter coached his 900th NHL game, including 434 for the Sharks from 1997-2002. He also coached 42 Sharks playoff games.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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