Sharks Fall to Kings in Overtime

By Mary Walsh

AP photo: SJ Sharks goaltender Martin Jones gets in front of the puck for a save following a shot from the LA Kings Anze Kopitar Sunday night at SAP Center

SAN JOSE- The Los Angeles Kings defeated the San Jose Sharks in overtime by a score of 3-2. The game was very close, despite periods of dominance by each team. Sharks goals were scored by Joe Pavelski and Logan Couture, with Kings goals from Drew Doughty, Vincent LeCavalier, and the game winner from Marian Gaborik. Sharks goaltender Martin Jones made 29 saves on 32 shots, while Kings goalie Jhonas Enroth made 30 saves on 32 shots.

Both the Kings and the Sharks had played on Saturday, but the Kings game was later in the day and on the road, so the Sharks had a small edge in the fatigue department. Milan Lucic was out due to a one game suspension, Jordan Nolan was in. Backup goaltender Jhonas Enroth was in net, possibly due to the back-to-back situation, possibly due to his excellent record against the Sharks. Sharks head coach Pete DeBoer opted to put Martin Jones in, though he had also played the day before.

The first few minutes of the game were harrowing for Sharks fans, as the Kings took shot after shot, only to be stopped by the post. In those first three minutes, the Kings led in shots by 4-1, but a comparison of zone time was even more lop-sided in the Kings’ favor. The Sharks had a couple of one-and-dones while the Kings took their time hammering away in the Sharks’ zone. Past the ten minute mark, the Sharks had spent a little more time in the offensive zone but the shot count still favored the Kings at 7-2.

Just before the 12 minute mark, the Sharks were short-handed as Brenden Dillon went to the box for high-sticking. Compared to their even strength play, the Sharks looked very efficient on the penalty kill, and the Kings chose to dump the puck in instead of carrying it over the line. It was an interesting choice, since Los Angeles opted to carry the puck in five on five.

The Sharks’ first power play came in the final minutes of the first period, with 2:46 remaining. Brayden McNabb went to the box for interference on Melker Karlsson. While the Sharks did not add many shots, their power play was better than it has been lately. They held the zone better and seemed to be adhering to a plan.

The Sharks were back on the penalty kill early in the second period. This time it was Joe Thornton in the box for tripping. The Sharks handled the kill thriftily. The penalty killers had just cleared the puck down the ice as the penalty expired, and Thornton exited the box at full speed. He chased the puck down in the Kings’ zone with Joe Pavelski and Thomas Hertl closing behind. Thornton passed the puck to Hertl in the slot, and Hertl sent it to Pavelski who was on the left side with an open net. He buried it just 14 seconds after the penalty ended. Assists went to Hertl and Thornton.

By the midpoint of the period, the shots were 15-11 Kings, thanks in part to a Sharks power play at 9:04. the Sharks followed that power play up with several good long stays in the offensive zone, closing the gap in shots and keeping the Kings on their heels.

With 3:13 left in the second, Chris Terney was tripped by Brayden McNabb along the boards. McNabb went to the box and Tierney went to the room. The power play did not produce, but the final seconds of the period featured an excellent set of saves by Martin Jones as the Kings attacked. Jones stopped two quick shots from Jeff Carter to keep the Sharks in the lead.

At the end of the second period, the shots were 20-18 Kings, the score still 1-0 Sharks.

The Sharks overtook the Kings in shots before the five minute mark of the third. The Sharks offense was surging and the Kings looked disjointed. At 5:25, the Kings caught a break in the form of roughing penalty to Mike Brown. The Kings took the opportunity for all it was worth and, 1:01 into the penalty, a Drew Doughty shot tied the game. Assists went to Jake Muzzin and Anze Kopitar. It was the Kings’ second shot on that power play.

The Sharks repaired the damage but it took them a little over five minutes. Joonas Donskoi won a puck battle behind the net and made a quick pass up to Couture in the left faceoff circle. Couture’s one-timer blew by Kings goaltender Jhonas Enroth for the second Sharks lead of the game.

The next power play went to the Sharks, with Drew Doughty in the box for slashing. The power play was not going very well, and then 1:11 in, Donskoi was called for interference. The Kings found some energy in the short power play but could not score. The Sharks responded with a very good push and seemed to have the game completely in hand but in the final seconds, the Kings pulled Enroth and scored through a flurry of activity at the Sharks net. The goal was Vincent LeCavalier’s, with assists to Tanner Pearson and Dustin Brown. The time of the goal was 19:47.

Overtime, like the third period, seemed dominated by the Sharks. But the one shot that the Kings had was the game winner. Marian Gaborik escaped his zone, noticed too late by Donskoi. His shot from near the goal line beat Jones at 4:06. An assist went to Tyler Toffoli.

The Sharks next play on Tuesday at 7:00 PT against the visiting Colorado Avalanche.

Sharks Lose to Kings, Hockey Wins at Levi’s Stadium

By Mary Walsh

SANTA CLARA– The San Jose Sharks were defeated by the Los Angeles Kings 2-1 in the NHL’s 2015 Stadium Series game at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, CA. The Sharks’ Joe Pavelski summarized his team’s disappointment over the loss: “You want to push towards that second season and right now we’re not there. There’s nothing given to us and we gotta go earn it.”

While the game was very important for the standings points, Sharks head coach Todd McLellan was not disappointed with his team:

We were disappointed in the outcome. I’m not disappointed in the effort and what our group put into the game. We would have preferred to win. It was a hard-fought game by two good teams that played a pretty even match. So the outcome is very disappointing, but everything else we’re proud of. I think our city and Northern California has to be extremely proud. You take Mr. Gund 25 years ago had a vision of bringing a team here, and brought it here, and a quarter century later we’re playing an outdoor game with 72,000 people in a brand-new football stadium. Who would have ever thought that could happen?

“We’re still not even close to being secure in a playoff spot, we have a lot of work left to do.” That was Drew Doughty after the game, but it would have been a true statement from a player on either team in Saturday night’s game. This is what made the game so important to both teams– the race for a playoff spot in the west will be a dog fight for the rest of the season. Calgary and Vancouver are crowding the top of the Pacific Division behind the Ducks. The wild card slots are over subscribed with Winnipeg and now Minnesota pressing. No contending team is secure or is likely to be until the last buzzer goes.

If the Los Angeles Kings wanted to ruin the Sharks’ big party in Santa Clara, they made a good start of it. Just 2:46 into the first period, a Jake Muzzin shot from the blue line went by Niemi on the short side. It was tipped by Kyle Clifford and it was deflating for the 709,000 plus stadium crowd.

Near the seven minute mark, the Kings drew a penalty from Brenden Dillon for holding. The call was delayed and the Kings took advantage of the extra time to make the Sharks look harried. It took the Sharks several seconds to finally touch the puck and get a whistle. The Sharks’ had a tv break to regain their composure and their penalty kill came out looking more settled. They evicted the Kings from the zone several times before the power play ended.

The Sharks had less success at five on five and by 13:30 of the first, the Sharks were trapped in their own end and counting on Niemi and luck to keep the puck out of their net. The shot clock read 9-3 Los Angeles.

Near the sixteen minute mark, John Scott corralled the puck and carried it through the neutral zone where he, Joe Thornton and Melker Karlsson made things interesting for Jonathan Quick. It was the crowd’s first reason to cheer in a while.

They had another chance with just over a minute left. the sharks had been creeping back on the shot clock when, right off an offensive zone draw, Brent Burns took the puck, skated a little and shot it from the half-boards to tie the game. The assist went to Tommy Wingels.

By the end of the first, the Kings were still leading in shots but just barely. The Sharks had pushed all the way back to 12-10, holding the Kings to just three shots in the last seven minutes of the period.

The Sharks started the second period where they left off in the first. They caught and passed the Kings in shots, though both teams were hanging back a little, keeping extra bodies by the blue lines to compensate for some pretty rough ice. Even from the press booth (way up high) you could see how not smooth the zamboni left the ice during intermission. There were no puddles but the puck’s trajectory vaguely resembled that of a bumble bee.

At 7:24, Robyn Regehr went to the box for hooking, giving the Sharks their first power play of the night. The Kings could not get the puck out for more than a minute, but aside from an early sequence featuring exceptional saves by Quick, the power play generated nothing concrete.

The Kings had another power play at 13:06 of the second, when Matt Irwin went to the box for hooking Kyle Clifford in front of the San Jose net. The kings held the zone for over a minute too, and one shot by Jamie McBain from the blue line looked pretty dangerous but beyond that the Sharks handled the Kings’ power play well.

The Sharks had their second chance on the power play soon after, when Jake Muzzin went to the box for delay of game after sending the puck over the glass. This Sharks power play was less sharp. The Kings sent them out, chasing the puck into their own zone, then Quick’s net came off its moorings and the power play minutes were eaten up fruitlessly. A few too many passes were attempted in hostile conditions. The only things that seemed to get through were some hard blasts from the slot.

By the end of the period, the Sharks were ahead in shots 25-18 but the game was still tied at one.

The Kings came out strong in the third, with an early shot going through Niemi but just wide. That may have given the Sharks a scare because they did push the game the other way in the minutes after that. But it was the Kings who scored next.

Marion Gaborik used a hard shot from the slot to beat Niemi. Marc-Edouard Vlasic was trying to come across to stop him but at least two Sharks were caught flat-footed and watched Gaborik go by. Jeff Carter got an assist on the goal.

At the midpoint of the third, Joe Thornton drew a tripping penalty from Dustin Brown. The teams were tied at 26 shots each, and neither team had scored on the power play. The Sharks’ third power play was their least effective of the game. They tried too many passes and took too few shots.

The Sharks were unable to tie the game up again and the final score was 2-1 Kings. The Sharks won 33 faceoffs to the Kings’ 31. The Sharks had three power plays to the Kings two, both teams had perfect penalty kills. The hits were 45-49 Sharks, the shots blocked 18-14 Kings. The biggest imbalance in the game was in giveaways (18-7 Sharks) and takeaways (13-5 Sharks), though those stats really should balance each other out. Perhaps not, in a game that requires more simplification than anything else.

The Sharks’ lines looked a little different on Saturday, with Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau reunited on a line, with Melker Karlsson as the third member. Joe Pavelski, Logan Couture and Tommy Wingels formed the other half of the top six. Tomas Hertl, James Sheppard and Matt Nieto formed the third line, and John Scott, Tyler Kennedy and Andrew Desjardins forming the fourth line.

Tommy Wingels led the Sharks in hits with 11, while six Sharks had four each. Brent Burns led the team in shots with six. Antti Niemi made 27 saves on 29 shots faced.

Drew Doughty led the Kings in shots, Trevor Lewis led the team in hits with six. Jonathan Quick made 31 saves on 32 shots for the win.

The Sharks next play on Thursday at SAP Center against the Detroit Red Wings.