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.