Sharks Lose 4-2 to Kings, Losing Streak Up to 4

Photo credit: @SanJoseSharks

By Mary Walsh

The San Jose Sharks fell 4-2 to the Los Angeles Kings at the Staples Center Thursday. Kings goals came from Dustin Brown, Matt Roy, Anze Kopitar and Jeff Carter. Jonathan Quick made 23 saves in the win, while Sharks goaltender Martin Jones made 31 saves in the loss. Sharks goals came from Barclay Goodrow and Tomas Hertl. The Flames won in Calgary on Thursday, so the Sharks have now fallen five points behind them for first in the Pacific.

After the game, Sharks forward Tomas Hertl said:

We got now 4 in a row. We know the playoffs are coming soon and… we have to wake up and be ready for tomorrow’s game because if we play like that in playoffs, you know, it’s just four-zero and you’re out and we have to be ready and start playing our hockey and everything else comes with that.

After the game, Sharks defenseman Brent Burns was asked whether losing four in a row at this point of the season was particularly concerning. Burns said: “Every loss is doomsday and every win feels good. I think that’s just kind of the way this game is. You lose one game and you want to try to get it back right away and we haven’t done it. So we’re just gonna kinda get our game back and start winning.”

The Sharks started the game without several key players. Joe Pavelski has been out with a lower body injury since Monday. Erik Karlsson was also still out. Finally, Logan Couture was out with the flu Thursday. Of the holes in their lineup, Burns said: “It’s tough to lose anybody but you gotta play, you just play. I mean it’s good for somebody else to, they get more time or move up or whatever it is.”

Los Angeles took the lead 5:19 into the first. Dustin Brown skated up the boards with Hertl between him and the net. He took a no-look shot between Hertl’s skates. With two more skaters screening him, Jones did not see Brown’s shot coming. The Sharks challenged the goal for goaltender interference because one of those skaters, Alex Iafallo, had a skate in the blue paint. Toronto did not consider it sufficient to erase the goal. Assists went to Sean Walker and Adrian Kempe.

The Sharks tied it up at 17:33 of he period. Joonas Donskoi brought the puck up from the goal line and passed it to Marc-Edouard Vlasic at the point. Vlasic took a quick shot into heavy traffic and Barclay Goodrow deflected it past Jonathan Quick. It was Goodrow’s seventh of the season, with Vlasic and Donskoi getting the assists.

The Kings outshot the Sharks 15-7 in the first period. There were no power plays, only matching minors in the final two minutes that resulted in some four-on-four play.

The Sharks took the lead early in the second period, at 3:45. Hertl made a pass to Burns as Burns approached the Los Angeles blue line, then followed Burns into the zone. Burns drew several defenders to him before the made a pass back to Hertl for the shot. The puck went by Quick on the far side.

The Sharks had a power play near the end of the period, but did not score there. The teams were tied in shots for the second period at 11.

Matt Roy tied the game up for Los Angeles 9:28 into the third period. Iafallo had the puck above the face-off circle and he sent a gentle pass to nearby Roy at the point. Roy blasted it to the net and it went off of a Sharks stick and into the net. Assists went to Iafallo and Anze Kopitar.

Kopitar gave the Kings the lead at 11:45. He got behind the Sharks defense and found the puck as it came out of a board battle up below the blue line. He faked to the right and shot left and beat Jones. Assists went to Iafallo and Brown.

Jeff Carter ended a 20-game goal drought with a back-hand from the defensive zone into an empty net at 18:43. The Sharks were on a power play and also pulled Jones for a six-on-four advantage.

The Kings outshot the Sharks 35-25 in the game.

The Sharks play again Friday against the Anaheim Ducks at 7:00 PM PT.

Sharks Lose 4-1 to Kings

San Jose Sharks’ Mikkel Boedker, left, celebrates after scoring against the Los Angeles Kings during the first period of an NHL hockey game Saturday, Oct. 7, 2017, in San Jose , Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

by M. Walsh

SAN JOSE– After Saturday’s 4-1 loss to the Los Angeles Kings, Sharks Captain Joe Pavelksi said:

“It’s two games in, we’re not panicking by any means but we need results and that’s on us as players. We’ve been given something that we know inside out and the commitment to do it has to be there. There’s just too many odd man rushes, a few too many battles that we lose and we’re not getting those second chances. So there’s just a commitment level that has to go up and doing it the right way.”

That described the game quite accurately. Logan Couture’s comments were more sweeping:

“That was just horrible. You can’t make excuses because that was a very very poor effort. From the first minute to the sixtieth minute, from power play to penalty kill. That was just garbage hockey.”

For Los Angeles, two goals came from Anze Kopitar, one from Dustin Brown and one from Nick Shore. Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick made 24 saves on 25 shots. The lone goal for the Sharks came from Mikkel Boedker, while Martin Jones made 25 saves on 29 shots and backup Aaron Dell made 9 saves. It is worth noting that Sharks forward Melker Karlsson took a hit during the second period and did not skate during the third.

Martin Jones started out looking like he might have a better game than he did. As the team struggled to get a shot on goal, the goaltender made a fine save near the four minute mark after the Kings stormed into the zone three on one. The Kings seemed to get more energy from that than the Sharks did and two minutes later the Sharks had a shot on goal but the Kings had a goal. Dustin Brown’s bad angle shot went over Jones’ shoulder through an opening that probably should not have been there. An assist went to Anze Kopitar.

That did spark the Sharks and just 1:06 later, Mikkel Boedker put the Sharks’ second shot past Jonathan Quick. Assists went to Brenden Dillon and Dylan DeMelo.

After a skirmish in the corner behind the Kings goal line at 8:31, Kurtis MacDermid was called for roughing. The Sharks added just one shot to their tally during that power play.

Logan Couture was called for tripping at 11:29, and the Sharks killed the penalty. Tomas Hertl took the next penalty, for hooking. The Sharks killed that one off as well, but as the seconds wound down, the Kings kept the pressure on. A regrettable line change gave Kopitar an opening to skate in nearly unfettered. He did not waste the opportunity and scored with just 8 seconds to go. The period ended with the score 2-1 Kings, with the shots an ominous 17-6 for Los Angeles.

5:57 into the second, the Sharks were on the penalty kill after Brenden Dillon high-sticked Kopitar. The Sharks killed the penalty off and were rewarded with a power play of their own at 8:34. It did not amount to much, and was riddled with bad takeaways by the Los Angeles penalty killers.

At 12:07 the game went from bad to worse as a shot got through to Jones and bounced over him to sit momentarily in the blue paint. No Shark was there to prevent Kopitar from tucking it over the line.

There were plenty of teal sweaters around the Sharks net when the next goal went in. Jones seemed to catch a long bouncing shot in his glove, but the puck instead bounced out and pinballed around and into the net to make it 4-1. The goal was awarded to Nick Shore. Aaron Dell came into the game to replace Martin Jones.

By the end of the second period, the score was 4-1, with the shot count still an abysmal 32-18 Los Angeles.

The third period provided little redemption for the Sharks. They did not give up any more goals, but the Kings did not look very motivated to increase the three goal lead. The Sharks killed three more penalties, while the Kings killed two. The Sharks pulled their goaltender with three minutes to go but it did not change the score.

The Sharks next play on Thursday against the Buffalo Sabres at 7:30 PM PT.

Sharks Lose Game Three to Kings

By Mary Walsh

AP photo: LA Kings Tanner Pearson (bottom) celebrates his game winning goal in overtime as the Kings take game three 2-1

SAN JOSE- The San Jose Sharks lost the third game of the Western Conference Quarter Finals to the Los Angeles Kings by a score of 2-1 in overtime. The Sharks still lead the series by 2-1. The game followed a peculiar statistic for the NHL playoff games Monday: all three games saw a goal scored in the first minute of the game, by the losing team.

In San Jose, that goal was scored by Joe Thornton. Anze Kopitar scored the tying goal for Los Angeles, and Tanner Pearson scored the overtime winner. Jonathan Quick made 29 saves for Los Angeles, and Martin Jones made 22 saves for San Jose.

Monday’s game was a grueling affair for both teams, with all the regulation scoring coming early in the first period. After that, it was a push-me-pull-you match up and down the ice for more than 40 minutes. The Sharks did a very good job of limiting the Kings’ chances, but they could not take advantage of the chances they had to score. They outshot the Kings 30-24, and in the third period by 9-3.

After the game, Sharks head coach Pete DeBoer said:

Over the second and third, I thought we grabbed it back, did a lot of good stuff tonight. Reality is, they’re a very good team. They’ve got multiple Stanley Cup winners over there.

We knew this wasn’t going to be a sweep. We’re in a good spot, I think we could have won the game tonight too, need to keep rolling out the same kind of game.

Through much of the game, the Sharks played well defensively but were less sharp in the offensive zone. Their power play stood out as being especially ineffective. It went 0-5 while Los Angeles went 1-3. Joe Thornton talked about the fifth power play after the game:

The last one especially, it felt like we were going to get it. The crowd was into it, we were into it, they broke a stick, we got a lot of shots and it felt like it was right there. But unfortunately it just didn’t happen.

Pete DeBoer is not overly concerned about the lack of results on the power play:

We had a lot of good looks, we had a lot of zone time. Because we don’t score doesn’t mean we’re not doing the right thing. That’s how the NHL goes. You’re not going to score on your power play every time. If we weren’t getting in and getting set up and getting looks, I’d be worried.

Did the Kings change their game much after losing two in Los Angeles? Shark goaltender Martin Jones did not think so:

Not really. They have their game plan, it’s crash the net, put pucks to the net. I thought we’ve done a really good job keeping them to the outside. But, yeah, I don’t think too much changed for them.

It took 30 seconds for the Sharks to score their only goal of the game. After pushing the puck out of their own zone, and touching it through the neutral zone with a pass or two, the Sharks’ top line made a couple of moves in the corner and suddenly Joe Thornton was skating behind the net and picking up the puck. He looked for a pass but did not see one so he carried it into the slot and took a shot. The puck went under Jonathan Quick without any fuss. The shot was so subtle that no one reacted for a beat. An assist went to Tomas Hertl.

The Sharks did not convert on their first power play of the game, at 5:33, but the Kings did score on their first, at 7:50. While Tommy Wingels sat in the box for hooking, Anze Kopitar picked up the rebound off of a Milan Lucic shot. A second assist went to Jake Muzzin.

At the half way point of the first period, things were not looking great for the Sharks. The score was tied, the shots were tied, but the Sharks had blocked more shots and the Kings had won 73% of the faceoffs. The Kings were bearing down.

At 11:50, Nick Spaling was called for tripping Rob Scuderi, putting the Sharks on their second penalty kill of the period. The Sharks did kill it off, but Los Angeles managed some good chances during the power play.
By the end of the period, Los Angeles had outshot San Jose by 13-7 but the score was still knotted at 1.

The Sharks started the second period with some energy, and had an early power play when [] went off for []. The Kings’ penalty kill was formidable. They not only prevented the Sharks from taking any shots, they kept most of the play outside their zone.

For the middle half of the period, the Sharks had trouble getting far beyond the Kings’ blue line. Any attempt to dump it in or carry it in was met with fiercely efficient resistance.

The Sharks had another power play at 13:01, after an interference call against Marian Gaborik. This power play was a lot more effective, but still did not score. The Kings still played well in front of their goaltender, blocking shots and crowding any skater that came near the blue paint.

Chris Tierney had a good chance near the 16 minute mark, a point blank shot on Jonathan Quick. Tierney caught a pass as he skated through the slot and tried a reverse shot, but Quick got his body in the way.

In general the second period was a frustrating one, with many missed calls and failed chances. The Sharks gained ground on the shot clock, but saw their power play fall to 0-3. With 2:19 left in the period, the Kings had still only taken two shots to the Sharks’ ten.

With 1:23 left in the period, Chris Tierney was called for playing the puck with his hand. The resulting Kings power play was fairly good, keeping the Sharks on their toes. The Sharks weathered the last seconds of the period and finished the second still tied at 1.

The Kings had six shots during the second period, to the Sharks 11.

The Sharks killed off the last seconds of the Tierney penalty and jumped out to a good start in the third. They put a couple of good shots on net in the first 90 seconds.

The period ground along after that, with neither team making any progress to speak of. At 9:40, Milan Lucic was called for slashing and the Sharks power play had another chance. The first 1:50 of the penalty was all Sharks, with the Kings’ penalty killers unable to change or get control of the puck at all. But the Sharks did not score.

With 5:56 left in regulation, the Kings’ Tanner Pearson put the puck over the glass in the defensive zone. The Sharks had only allowed the Kings one shot in the period to that point, and had taken five. Their power play, however, still could not produce a goal.

Peter DeBoer used his timeout with just under four minutes left, after an icing trapped some tired Sharks on the ice.

With 53.8 left in regulation, Tomas Hertl and Dustin Brown received roughing minors. They went to their respective rooms and the teams finished the period 4-on-4.

Heading into overtime, the shots were 27-22 San Jose.

3:47 into overtime, Tanner Pearson ended it after a miscue on the Sharks blue line by Brenden Dillon. Dustin Brown knocked Joonas Donskoi off the puck and Dillon tried to do the same to Brown. The puck escaped and Pearson picked it up behind Dillon and re-entered the Sharks zone two on one with Vincent LeCavalier. Neither Couture, Wingels, nor Hertl could catch him and Roman Polak could not block his shot. Assists went to Dustin Brown and Vincent LeCavalier.

Game Four will be Wednesday at 7:30 PT at SAP center.

Kings Beat Sharks 1-0, Stalock Sets New Shutout Record

By Mary Walsh

SAN JOSE- The San Jose Sharks lost 1-0 to the Los Angeles Kings at SAP Center on Monday night. It was the first game in 15 between San Jose and Los Angeles that went to the visitor. In the middle of the loss, Alex Stalock broke Evgeni Nabokov’s franchise record for shutout minutes, set back in 2009. Stalock has reset the record at 178:55.

Did Stalock know he was on the verge of breaking that record?

Other than [Logan Couture] reminding me every single day, but… I don’t know what it was at.

It was 171:18.

The game was one of the hardest fought low-scoring games the Sharks have played in a long while. That was exactly what Sharks head coach Todd McLellan had expected:

We got the game we thought we’d get from both teams really. It was a very tightly contested game, not a lot of chances at either end. They buried their one opportunity and we had a couple that we didn’t. That’s probably the end of the story. I thought that eight minutes of penalty kill time didn’t help us at all and to nullify a couple of power plays by taking penalties.

The game was noteworthy as a third start for Stalock in six games. McLellan has expressed an intent to start Stalock more, to compensate for the added wear and tear that Niemi might incur going to the Olympics. He appears to be sticking to that plan.

The Kings started the game with a long spell in the Sharks’ zone. They got credit for two shots before play went the other way.

When the first penalty was called, just over five minutes had gone by and only four shots had been recorded, three from Los Angeles. The penalty went to San Jose’s Brad Stuart for holding. Kings didn’t get more than a shot on the power play.

A few minutes later, LA’s Colin Fraser decided that punching Brent Burns would be a good idea. No one else thought so and the pair were separated quickly. Both went to the box with matching roughing minors.

The Sharks finished the four on four time in the Kings’ zone, but the best chance they had was a quick shot from Pavelski that went just wide. With 4:52 left in the period, the shots were 7-3 for the Kings.

By the end of the period, the Kings led in shots 8-4.

Early in the second period, Robyn Regehr went to the box for interference, giving the Sharks their first power play of the game. The Kings did an excellent job of keeping the Sharks away from shooting lanes, which is essentially what they had been doing all game.

The Sharks didn’t have to wait long before they were on the penalty kill, as Dan Boyle went to the box for holding. The Sharks penalty killers, didn’t allow the Kings to spend much time in their zone at all, several times turning them back entirely before they could cross the blue line. the Kings managed one or two good chances but their power play wound up being even less effective than the Sharks’.

With 11:08 left in the second, the teams got another shot at four on four, when Joe Thornton and Anze Kopitar went to the box for hooking and roughing respectively. As before, neither team could sustain any offensive pressure.

After such a hard-fought thirty-plus minutes, Stalock’s shutout streak ended with a quick shot from Anze Kopitar, off a pass from Jeff Carter. Anze Kopitar slipped around the Sharks defense and Carter sent a carefully-timed pass right to him. After the game, Stalock explained what he saw:

It was kind of a two on one and a half I guess. We had a guy coming back, and he passed it across. We got a stick on it, maybe it slowed it down and bought him a little time and he ended up beating me on a one on one play.

The Sharks drew a penalty in the final minute of the second period, a hooking call on Willie Mitchell. The Sharks didn’t get a shot on that power play, in the second or third period.

The shots at the end of the second period were 13-8 for the Kings.

Early in the third period, the Kings’ Slava Voynov went to the penalty box for cross-checking Bracken Kearns, but just 17 seconds later, Joe Thornton went to the other box for hooking. It was the third time the teams had played four on four in the game.

With 10:13 left in the period, the Sharks finally drew even on the shot clock, but the Kings were keeping those shots hurried and unscreened.

With 9:52 left, Joe Pavelski went to the penalty box for four minutes after high-sticking Kopitar in the mouth. The penalty kill started out inauspiciously. The Sharks had a short-handed chance but a minor collision between Stalock and Brad Stuart followed, and then a pile up of bodies on top of Stalock in the Sharks’ crease. The referee talked briefly to Stalock and play resumed.

The Sharks had time to get their penalty kill together. Tommy Wingels described that successful kill as a chance to build momentum:

Hard-fought, that’s for sure. I think our penalty kill at the end there gave us a chance to win the game. When you kill off a four minute penalty there, you get some momentum off it and I think we did. Ultimately with your penalty kill you want to keep yourself in the game and I think in the third there we did a good job with it.

The Sharks did get the puck cleared at regular intervals, keeping their penalty killers fresh. As the last minute of the kill started, Marleau and Wingels broke away for a decent chance, but the Kings’ defenders held Wingels up enough to prevent him getting a good shot off.

By the end of the penalty, the teams were still tied in shots, 20-20. A timeout and three shots later, the Kings had broken through the visitors curse by holding on to win 1-0.

Alex Stalock made 20 saves on 21 shots. Bracken Kearns lead the Sharks in shots on goal with five, Matt Irwin getting credit for four shots. Tommy Wingels and Mike Brown lead the Sharks in hits with five each, while Jason Demers and Brad Stuart lead the team in bockled shots with three apiece.

Jonathan Quick made 23 saves for the shutout. Jeff Carter and Anze Kopitar lead the Kings in shots with four each, Matt Greene led the Kings in hits with five, Greene and Willie Mitchell lead the Kings in blocked shots with four each.

Not Quite Right: Sharks Fall to Kings in OT

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By Mary Walsh

LOS ANGELES-

We don’t like the way things ended last year, and we want to try and set things right tonight. -Patrick Marleau, to CSNCA during warmups

It looked like the Sharks were ready to do just that when Logan Couture found Marc-Edouard Vlasic pinching in deep, after getting a quick look at the play. Vlasic’s goal gave the Sharks a lead just 13 seconds into the game. The Sharks looked poised to play a slippery, unpredictable game. In the end, the Kings won in an entirely predictable fashion for them: by taking away the Sharks’ time and space with relentless physical play. After trailing by a goal three times, the Kings won 4-3 in overtime.

At 2:32 of the period, a miscalculation by Matt Irwin in the Sharks’ zone ended with a failed breakout. Justin Williams took advantage and sent the puck back up to Drew Doughty, who tied the game with a snap shot.

The game was Martin Havlat’s first back with the team after a lengthy recovery from off-season surgery. He started on a line with Joe Pavelski and Tommy Wingels. That line produced the Sharks’ second goal. As the Kings were exiting their zone, Pavelski and Wingels converged between Kings, stole the puck, and a quick back and forth between them ended with a patient shot from Pavelski to give the Sharks a 2-1 lead. Wingels and Havlat had a 2 on 1 chance on their next shift. The line looked very much in sync.

The Sharks started the second period with several good chances from the Pavelski and Desjardins lines, but on the Kings’ first good shift of the period, the Kings took the puck from Sharks defenseman Brad Stuart with a hard hit. The home team took over and Jarret Stoll scored off a deflected shot from Slava Voynov.

Antti Niemi added a little surprise move when he came out above the faceoff circle to prevent a dangerous breakaway by the Kings’ Stoll. Near the Kings’ blue line, James Sheppard tried a pass to the slot, but Stoll blocked it and went other way. He had a step on everyone. Niemi’s pass moved the puck to safety, though it bounced meekly back into the Kings’ zone. That pass was more successful than half the Sharks’ passes in the second. Good pressure from Los Angeles rushed the Sharks skaters and led to several giveaways.

Neither team allowed many good second chances, though the Sharks’ fourth line had a few in the middle period. A lot of physical play was the key, and Mike Brown certainly helped there when he got near the net.

A too many men penalty with just over six minutes left punctuated a lack of poise from the Sharks. That penalty kill seemed to help the Sharks briefly regain their focus.

The Sharks caught a break in the form of a goalie interference call against Kyle Clifford at 17:22 of the second period. After some rapid-fire puck movement from the Sharks’ power play, Logan Couture gave San Jose the lead.

The fourth line followed up with a very good shot from Desjardins that just trickled wide of the Kings’ net. Play went the other way, and the Kings answered with a great steal off Justin Braun by Dustin Brown just ahead of the goal line. The Sharks collapsed to the slot before he could get a shot off.

The Kings got their own goalie interference power play not long in to the third period. The Sharks had some close calls and had to make several very quick adjustments to protect their lead while Tommy Wingels was in the box for falling over Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick.

By the middle of the third, the Kings looked like the fresher team, though they had played the night before. The Sharks were scrambling and were called again for too many men on the ice. A beautiful play by Anze Kopitar was too much for San Jose’s penalty kill, and Justin Williams tied the game again.

Momentum shifted when Kings forward Dan Carcillo hit Logan Couture from behind and went to the penalty box for boarding. The ensuing power play for San Jose was fiercely defended by the Kings. There would be no extended passing plays now. The Sharks adjusted, coming up with some fast plays and faster shots, but still didn’t score.

The Sharks stretched out the last seven seconds of the period by icing the puck again and again. The clock ran out and the teams went to overtime.

Less than a minute into overtime, the Sharks went back on the penalty kill. The Kings had a relentless shift in the offensive zone, which ended when Justin Braun hooked LA’s Jeff Carter, possibly preventing a shot puck but taking the penalty. Neither team looked especially fresh during the four on three power play, but the Kings had plenty of room to work with. With 22 seconds left in the four on three power play, Anze Kopitar slapped the puck in from the blue line to give the Kings the win.

Talking about what he needed to do in his first game back, Havlat mentioned a couple of things that the whole team might have done to improve the outcome Wednesday night:

I just have to keep it simple, not try to do too much… I’m just trying to focus on the little things and not think too much. -Martin Havlat to CSNCA during first intermission

The Sharks next play on Saturday, back home at SAP Center in San Jose.