With about 2 minutes left in what was already the wackiest game of the season for the Sharks and Kings, Ryane Clowe stood up at the San Jose bench and reached his stick over the boards and onto the ice.

Clowe deftly poked the puck away from Los Angeles' onrushing Jarret Stoll, who understandably didn't anticipate this development, then pulled his stick back. Stoll screamed, the Staples Center crowd erupted -- but no officials noticed this graceful moment of apparently blatant cheating.

"I don't remember that play," Clowe said, smiling coyly.

Both teams will remember the Sharks' 6-5 shootout win over the Kings on Thursday night for much more than this astonishing bit of gamesmanship. Less than a week after San Jose was out of the Western Conference playoff picture, the Sharks are back on top in a three-team race for the Pacific Division title that will go down to the final day of the regular season.