By Mary Walsh
SAN JOSE — The San Jose Sharks lost 3-2 in overtime to the visiting Los Angeles Kings Saturday. Ilya Kovalchuk, just returned from a 10-game absence, scored twice for Los Angeles, including the overtime game-winner. Alex Iafallo also scored for the Kings, while goaltender Jonathan Quick made 29 saves in the win. For the Sharks, goals came from Lukas Radil and Joe Pavelski, and goaltender Martin Jones made 28 saves in the loss.
The Sharks’ special teams were both defeated by the Kings, though each team only had one power play in the game. The faceoffs were fairly even through the game at 51% to 49% for the Sharks. It is worth noting that the Kings blocked 29 shots to the Sharks’ 11.
The first goal for Los Angeles came on a power play at 4:28 of the first from Ilya Kovalchuk. Timo Meier was in the box for hooking Jake Muzzin when Brendan Leipsic carried the puck behind the Sharks net to send it back up to Alex Iafallo at the point. His pass found Jake Muzzin in the slot, but he didn’t have a clear shot. So he passed it to Kovalchuk at the bottom of the faceoff circle, and his shot beat Jones on the short side. It was Kovalchuk’s sixth of the season, with assists going to Muzzin and Iafallo.
The Kings led the Sharks in shots in the first period, 15-8.
At 8:09 of the second period, Oscar Fantenberg had a goal taken away for goaltender interference by Dustin Brown. Brown was in the blue paint, behind the Sharks’ Brenden Dillon. He could have argued that Dillon kept him in the paint, crowding Jones, but he got into that paint on his own.
The Sharks had a power play opportunity near the end of the second period, but did not score. The Los Angeles penalty kill did an excellent job of controlling the puck and play in general.
The Sharks did outshoot the Kings during the second period, 13-6, but still trailed 1-0 to Los Angeles.
The Kings started the third period mostly playing keep away from the Sharks, to good effect. For good measure, they scored a second goal at 5:15. Dustin Brown carried the puck below the goal line, then sent it to Iafallo for a perfect shot over Martin Jones. It was Iafallo’s eighth of the season, with assists to Brown and Nate Thompson.
The Sharks finally got one by Jonathan Quick at 10:18 of the third period. Lukas Radil, skating across the goal mouth, deflected Timo Meier’s shot from the boards. The puck went over Quick’s shoulder and off the crossbar for Radil’s third goal of the season. Assists went to Meier and Erik Karlsson.
San Jose left the tying goal until the final minute. With the Sharks net empty, Erik Karlsson passed the puck to Brent Burns, waiting just below the blue line. He sent the puck to the net, where Joe Pavelski was waiting to deflect it in. It was Pavelski’s 23rd goal of the season, with assists to Burns and Karlsson.
The overtime period lasted 2:29, at which point Kovalchuck put the puck behind Jones to end the game.
Erik Karlsson could possibly hear from the Department of Player Safety regarding a hit he made on Austin Wagner during the second period. Wagner did not return to the game after that hit.
That question will be answered before the Sharks next play, on Sunday at 5:00 PM PT, when they will host the Arizona Coyotes.