Sharks Give up Lead, Lose 3-2 to Kings in OT

photo from sfgate.com: Los Angeles Kings Jeff Carter (77) scored the game winning goal in overtime at 1:31 to get the Kings the victory on Friday night over goalie Aaron Dell (30) and the San Jose Sharks at SAP Center in San Jose

By Mary Walsh

SAN JOSE- The San Jose Sharks lost 3-2 to the Los Angeles Kings in overtime Friday night at SAP Center. Sharks goals were scored by Erik Karlsson and Joe Thornton. Aaron Dell made 35 saves in the loss. Both regulation goals for Los Angeles came from Martin Frk, while Jeff Carter scored the overtime winner. Jack Campbell made 22 saves in the win.

The teams played a scoreless first period, trading power plays and finishing close in most respects, shots 10-8 Kings, five blocked shots each, hits 9-6 Sharks. In the face-off circle, though, the Kings walloped the Sharks, winning 71% of them. Tomas Hertl and Anze Kopitar took the lion’s share of those.

The Sharks took a lead at 6:16 of the second period with a shot from Erik Karlsson just below the blue line. He got the puck just off of an offensive zone face-off, and he held on to it until he saw his chance. A screen created by several skaters, including Patrick Marleau, blinded Campbell to the shot. Assists went to Marleau and Joe Thornton.

Joe Thornton scored his first of the season at 11:39 of the period. Marcus Sorensen carried the puck across the blue line and dropped it to Thornton on the left side. Thornton passed it across the ice to Marleau, who moved it closer to the center of the ice with a pass to a speeding Radim Simek. Simek made a back-hand pass just as he approached the blue paint, finding Thornton open while attention was drawn to Simek. Assists went to Simek and Marleau.

The teams finished the second period with 11 shots each. The Sharks narrowed the face-off gap a bit, winning 44% of them.

The Kings scored at 1:30 of the third period. Jeff Carter took a hit from Mario Ferraro in order to send the puck around behind the net to Nikolai Prokhorkin. Prokhorkin sent it post-haste to the front of the net where Martin Frk was arriving fast. Frk took a diving shot and beat Dell for his first goal of the season.

Near the mid-point of the period, the Sharks still had no shots on goal, while Los Angeles had five. In the final minutes, the Sharks had all of three shots on the period, and they were dumping the puck in during the final two minutes when the Kings broke through the neutral zone.

Prokhorkin knocked Erik Karlsson off the puck in the corner, Jeff Carter took the puck and lifted it over a Sharks stick to Frk in the slot. Frk scored his second of the game. The goal sent the game to overtime.

The Sharks had recovered in the face-off circle during the third period, but obviously winning 69% of those did them little good. Being out-shot 15-4 may also have contributed to letting the Kings tie it up.

In overtime there were only three shots recorded, two for Los Angeles and one for San Jose. 1:31 in, the Sharks lost track of the puck behind their net and the Kings found it while Aaron Dell was diving for it. With the goalie down and out and no one else covering, Jeff Carter scored the game winner into an open net. Alex Iafallo got the assist.

The Sharks next play on Saturday against the Philadelphia Flyers at 7:30 PM PT.

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 Win Game 4, Take 3-1 Series Lead

By Mary Walsh

AP photo: Los Angeles Kings goalie Jonathan Quick was kept busy all night by the Sharks here a shot goes wide in the first period at SAP Center on Wednesday night

SAN JOSE– The San Jose Sharks defeated the Los Angeles Kings at SAP Center on Wednesday, by a score of 3-2. The win gives San Jose a 3-1 series lead, sometimes called a stranglehold. Despite rumors that there would be changes to the Sharks lineup for Game 4, there were none. Sharks head coach Peter DeBoer did not even alter his line combinations. The lack of change paid off. The team as a whole was sharper and more balanced than it had been on Monday. Even when they gave up two goals early in the third period, they corrected quickly enough to hold on for the win. It was altogether an impressive performance.

The fourth line that struggled in Game 3 pulled themselves together and played very effective minutes. After Wednesday’s game, coach DeBoer talked about the line of Chris Tierney, Tommy Wingels and Nick Spaling:

They were excellent. Again, I think with our group, every time this year that we’ve challenged them to be better, they responded and I think that speaks to the character in the room. And those guys I thought were excellent tonight for us. I didn’t hesitate to put them out with four or five minutes left in the game.

All three Sharks goals were power play goals, scored over four power plays. This was a vast improvement over their 0-5 power play performance Monday. The game winner was scored by Patrick Marleau, with additional goals scored by Brent Burns and Joe Pavelski. Martin Jones made 26 saves for the Sharks. Jonathan Quick also made 26 saves, for the Kings. Los Angeles goals were scored by Trevor Lewis and Luke Schenn.

The Sharks spent most of the first five minutes in the Kings zone, but could not find any good shots. Near the five-minute mark, the Kings went the other way, frst two on one, then when Justin Braun caught up to them, three on two. That led to a prolonged attack in the Sharks’ zone. Martin Jones stopped the three shots that came his way, but when the Sharks finally got the puck out it was by icing it. The Sharks were on their heels for several minutes even after that. Their forays into the Kings’ zone were short and not productive. Slowly, the Sharks started pushing back. They were spending less time trapped in their own zone when the 10 minute mark ticked by. But the shots were still 7-2 Los Angeles.

By the time the period ended, the Sharks had corrected that disparity. They saw a good number of excellent chances pass them by, since no one was in the right spot to take advantage of unexpected, glaring opportunities. The shots were 11-8 San Jose, and 9-2 San Jose for the second half of the period. The teams were even in faceoff wins.

Jeff Carter started the second off with a roughing penalty 30 seconds in, against Marc-Edouard Vlasic. The Sharks maintained the attack for a solid 40 seconds and then a crazy bounce sent the puck off the back boards and through the crease, then off a skater and back through the crease, still not going in. This disrupted the play enough for the Kings to clear the zone.

The Sharks retrieved the puck behind their own goal line and resumed the attack. This time the Sharks did not take long. A cross-ice pass from Joel Ward to Brent Burns found him above the left faceoff circle. Quick could not get across in time and Burns’ trademark shot blew by him to give the Sharks the lead. Assist went to Ward and Vlasic.

Before the cheers died down, play had resumed and Jonathan Quick was handling the puck behind his net. Matt Nieto, chasing the puck down, caught Quick in the back of his skates. Both players went down and Nieto went to the box. The Sharks penalty killers started out well and had a short-handed chance half way through the penalty, with Chris Tierney almost skating in front of Quick for a shot before being held up by Kings defenders.

In the final seconds of the penalty kill, Karlsson, Vlasic and Thornton carried play back into the offensive zone and set the Kings spinning for a shift.

Unfortunately, that penalty kill was followed by another less than a minute later. Joel Ward was called for high sticking. The Kings had a good chance about half way through but an overhead clear by Vlasic allowed the Sharks to regroup and change.
The Sharks finished that up with another short handed chanced, and not long after it expired, yet another outrageously improbable missed chance. A Kings skater got tangled up with his goalie and a Shark and all were out of play for several seconds, with the puck sitting in the blue paint. No Sharks skater could get to it, including the one trapped in the body tangle inches away.

The score remained 1-0.

The Sharks drew another power play when Tomas Hertl was tripped next to the Kings net by Rob Scuderi. 39 seconds into the power play, Patrick Marleau sent the puck behind the net to Thornton, who sent it out front for Joe Pavelski. A fast shot as he fell to his knees earned Pavelski his fourth goal of the playoffs.

The game tempo increased after that. The Sharks drove play for a long spell after that. When they did not have th epuck, they wasted little time stripping the Kings of it, or knocking them off of it. Brenden Dillon made Dustin Brown pay for sendng the puck around the boards, and Patrick Marleau added a solid hit or two.

The Kings finally did get some traction in the last three minutes of play, but it did not last for more than a minute. The Sharks were back in the Kings’ zone at 7:30 when Luke Schenn was caught roughing Joe Thornton. The Sharks did not convert on their third power play but the Kings did not take any leisurely skates into the Sharks’ zone either.

The shots for the period were 13-8 San Jose.

The teams picked up where they left off for the third. 1:34 into the period, Jamie McBain caught Joonas Donskoi in the face with a high stick. Five seconds into that penalty, Patrick Marleau stopped the puck with a skate, kicked it to his stick, and put the puck in the net. Assists went to Logan Couture and Brent Burns.

The Kings got on the board just 69 seconds later when Luke Schenn’s shot from the blue line got by Martin Jones. Trevor Lewis was in front of Jones, wrestling with a Sharks defender. As the shot came in, Lewis fell into Jones. Coach DeBoer challenged the goal for goaltender interference but the call stood up. The goal went to Lewis, with assists to Luke Schenn and Kris Versteeg.

The game got a little more interesting at 6:44, when Schenn took a shot through a long line of traffic and beat Jones, closing the gap to one goal. Assists went to Anze Kopitar and Marian Gaborik.

After that, the Kings tried more of those shots, but Jones seemed to see them better. The Kings kept pushing, they caught up on the shot clock, and as the final minutes ticked away, the game lost none of its intensity. The Sharks spent a lot of time with the puck but they were not getting the shots or the chances they had before. Even with the Kings net empty, the Kings kept the Sharks from taking good shots. The Sharks managed a couple of shots from their own zone but missed the net.

With 18.3 seconds to go, Los Angeles took their time out, then sent six skaters back on the ice for an offensive zone draw. It was to no avail as Game 4 slipped away from the Kings.

Game 5 will be back in Los Angeles at Staples Center on Friday.

Stanley Cup Final: New York Rangers Hang On to Win Game 4

By Mary Walsh

The New York Rangers saved themselves from a sweep at the hands of the Los Angeles Kings with a little luck and a lot of persistence. As usual, the Rangers took the early lead, but finally they were able to hold on to it for a 2-1 win. The third period was more harrowing than any we have seen so far in this series, with the Rangers managing only one shot on goal to the Comeback Kings’ 15. After the game, Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist was asked about that third period:

It was a battle, the whole game. When they turn it up, you need to rely on your teammates and some luck. We’ve been talking about it all series: to beat this team, you need some sort of puck luck and we definitely had it tonight.

The win set a new NHL record, as the Rangers are now 8-0 in elimination games at home since 2008. Lundqvist has been in net for all of those wins.

Wednesday, Lundqvist made 40 saves on 41 shots. At the other end, Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick only faced 19 shots and gave up two goals. It was a reversal from Game 3, where the overworked Quick stood on his head for the win and Lundqvist couldn’t catch a break despite seeing far fewer shots. After the game, Lundqvist talked about the team’s mindset:

Whatever happens, we’re winning this game. We’re not losing two at home. We want to get back in this series… it’s not impossible, they’ve done it, we came back from 3-1, but you need to be so smart playing against this team. They’re good and they almost trick you sometimes, you think you have under control and they make a couple of quick plays and create something out of basically nothing.

The Kings were the faster team out of the gate. After five minutes, the Kings had three shots on goal, the Rangers none. The Rangers’ first shot had promise, with Rick Nash going to the net. Derrick Stepan’s shot from the half wall went off of Drew Doughty’s stick and fluttered into Jonathan Quick for a whistle.

A few moments later, the Kings took the game’s first penalty. The Rangers’ power play was very controlled, though they took shots with caution. The strategy did at least keep the puck away from the Kings, but it was almost a minute before the Rangers had a good chance, only to be thwarted by Quick.

The penalty had just expired when New York’s Benoit Pouliot scored with deflected a shot from John Moore at the blue line.

The Kings’ first power play came from a delay of game call, when Anze Kopitar pressured Mats Zuccarello into throwing the puck over the glass. The Kings’ best chance came early in the power play, when a puck crept by Lundvquist but Rangers defenseman Anton Stralman got his stick behind it and swept it out, despite having to compete with Jeff Carter, who was trying to push the puck over the line.

It was a good thing the Rangers scored when they did, because for the last 11+ minutes of the first, their triggers were malfunctioning. They got credit for no shots in the second half of the period. The Kings, meanwhile, kept Lundqvist moderately busy, but they did not beat him in the first.

Over seven minutes and a bundle of penalties had gone in the second when the Rangers stretched their lead to two. A fast zone entry by the Rangers ended with a shot from Derek Stepan that fluttered off of Quick, to be put away by Marty St. Louis.

That got the house jumping, and a little extra zip in the Rangers’ step earned them another power play. The Kings threw themselves into the penalty kill and took a couple of short-handed shots, without straying too far from their own blue line. Lundqvist handled those neatly.

Once the Kings killed off that penalty, they started to chip away at the Rangers’ lead. Kings captain Dustin Brown got by Dan Girardi at the Kings blue line, thanks to a broken stick for Girardi. He was able to carry the puck in mostly unmolested, and beat Lundqvist with a late shot.

That goal seemed to open the floodgates for the Kings. The next few minutes showed the Rangers facing onslaught after onslaught from Kings’ forecheckers. The Rangers did manage to hold the zone finally around the 12 minute mark, and generate a few chances before the puck went out of play.

The Kings then found themselves being pretty effectively ejected from the Rangers’ zone, and were limited to one and dones, while the Rangers at least held the offensive zone for longer than one shot. The Kings’ 70s line of Tanner Pearson, Tyler Toffoli and Jeff Carter broke that pattern and maintained steady pressure against the Rangers, controlling the puck and peppering Lundqvist with shots. The Justin Williams, Jarret Stoll and Dwight King line followed up by drawing a penalty that put Dominic Moore in the box for cross-checking.

The penalty kill was made more challenging by another broken stick, this time for Rick Nash. A shot deflected out of play and stopped play before that became much of an issue. After 90 seconds, the Kings’ power play only had one shot on goal. Nash and Stepan were able to kill some time with a short-handed foray to end the penalty kill.

The Rangers missed an opportunity when Quick went behind the net and got tangled up in traffic. The Kings burrowed in and made a shot impossible for the Rangers. Right after that, Jeff Carter broke away in the last minute but this time Lundqvist won the one-on-one contest to keep the Rangers ahead.

The period ended with Los Angeles leading in shots 26-17, 15-11 for the period.

The Kings did not slow down in the third, but the Rangers did not lie down either. Henrik Lundvist had to make some tough saves through traffic in the first ten minutes. One shot from Tyler Toffoli looked dangerous, and it was an expensive shot for the Kings. Marian Gaborik was flattened by Rick Nash behind the net, after getting the puck out to Toffoli.

The Rangers seemed to be repeating the Kings’ third from the last game, clinging to the one goal lead by the skin of their teeth. In the last minutes, Derek Stepan saved a goal by pushing the puck under his goalie with a glove. The referee was in good position to verify that Stepan did not close his hand over the puck.

The Kings pulled Quick in the last 1:11, and an empty net shot from the Rangers’ zone by Brian Boyle went just wide. It didn’t matter, the Rangers held on for the last minute despite some mad scrambles in front of Lundqvist.

Asked whether the team felt like the puck was finally bouncing in their favor, Dominic Moore said:

Definitely when the puck lays on the goal line and doesn’t cross you feel a bit fortunate. But personally I feel like you can’t really think about breaks going one way or the other, you just got to continue to earn your breaks. Hopefully … tonight’s something we can build off in terms of doing some things well and we’ll see what happens next game.

Ryan McDonagh led the Rangers in time on ice with 28:10. Martin St. Louis, Ryan McDonagh and Derek Stepan each took three shots, and no Ranger took more. Dan Girardi blocked six shots for the team lead. Dominic Moore was the best Ranger in the faceoff circle at 47%.

Tanner Pearson led the Kings in shots with eight. Jake Muzzin led the team with five blocked shots, and Drew Doughty led the team in minutes with 26:45. Justin Williams was pointless for the first time in five games.

Game 5 will be played in Los Angeles on Friday at 5 pm PT.

Stanley Cup Final: Kings Shut Out Rangers in Game 3, Lead Series 3-0

By Mary Walsh

After a 3-0 win in New York, the Los Angeles Kings are the verge of sweeping the New York Rangers out of the the Stanley Cup Final. Two seasons ago, they were in the same position against the New Jersey Devils. They also started that series by winning two overtime games, then winning the third with a shutout. The Devils rallied and won the next two to stretch the series to six games.

Of being up three games to none, Justin Williams said:

Just because you’re leading a series doesn’t mean that you’ve won anything.

The game showed improvement in some areas for the Kings. They skipped the sluggish first period and falling behind early. They showed the defensive prowess they are known for. Jonathan Quick turned in an impressive 32 save shutout in his first game at Madison Square Garden.

Of the mood in the Kings’ room, Williams said:

It’s all business in there. Certainly right now, yeah, we’re happy, we’re up three-nothing. But we know as good as anyone that three-nothing doesn’t mean four and the fourth one’s the hardest and we’re going to be ready for it.

Being ready might have to include generating more offense. The Kings were dangerously outshot, testing their goaltender and defensive resilience. In the second period the Rangers outshot the Kings 17-8, in the third 11-2.

A 3-0 shutout might look like an about-face from the two games they won in overtime, but this game should have been closer on the scoreboard than it was. Two of the Kings goals relied on unlucky bounces off of Rangers players.

The Rangers have to be feeling frustration now, and there was one penalty that could well be a focal point of that frustration. At 14:02 of the third period, the Rangers’ Chris Kreider was called for goalie interference, after pushing Drew Doughty in the direction of Jonathan Quick. Doughty went in to Quick and took him down, but no goal, no good scoring chance resulted.

It was not a completely insane call, but it was wildly inconsistent. It made the non-call against Dwight King even more grotesque, as he scored a goal by falling on Henrik Lundqvist in Game Two. Granted, the calls were not made by the same referees, but it is likely to be a sore point.

The first period was noteworthy for two reasons: the Kings scored first, which is so infrequent that it seemed like a mistake. Additionally, the NHL server was down for most of the period so there were no stats available. Once the server came back up, the officials finally made a call, a coincidence no doubt. The call went for New York but they did not score with the man advantage.

Though the penalty took up most of the time remaining in the period, Los Angeles’ Jeff Carter still managed to squeak an even strength goal in before the period ended. Justin Williams found him in the slot, where Carter put a quick wrist shot past Lundqvist. The shot appeared to go off of Dan Girardi’s skate and the tip of Henrik Lundqvist’s glove. It was an auspicious start for the Kings and another point for Justin Williams.

The second period was littered with penalties. They were called at a rate of about one every three and a half minutes, three against each team. Only the Kings converted, and they only did so once.

Starting with a lead did not put the Kings off their rhythm. As usual, they scored early in the second period again, this time with the help of a power play, giving them a 2-0 lead. This put them doubly in unfamiliar territory, since it is their habit to be on the other side of the two goal lead before they win.

The goal was a little later than usual, a power play goal made possible by Marc Staal being called for high-sticking. The call may have been overdue, as other players, including Staal, had gotten away with some high-sticks already. It took the Kings just under a minute to score. Jake Muzzin threw one in from the point while Jeff Carter screened Lundqvist. New York’s Martin St. Louis tried to block the shot but only deflected it around his goaltender.

The third Los Angeles goal came off a two on one of Trevor Lewis and Mike Richards versus Ryan McDonagh. Richards tried to pas the puck but it went off of McDonagh and came back to Richards. By then, he had the shot and he took it.

The Rangers entered the third period trailing by three, having gone 0-7 in the playoffs when trailing after two periods. That had to be as discouraging as the three goal deficit.

The Rangers did make one change late in the second: head coach Alain Vigneault put Rick Nash on the power play. He started by crashing the net, something the Rangers have not done enough of through the series. The collision did little more than aggravate Quick, who gave Nash a glove to the head for his trouble.

Nash was again on the ice for the Rangers power play early in the third period. The power play as a whole was ineffective, mostly taken up by a game of keep away by the Kings.

Henrik Lundqvist made 12 saves for New York. Derick Brassard led the Rangers in shots with five. Ryan McDonagh and Marc Stall each blocked two shots and no Ranger blocked more, but there were not very many to block. McDonagh led the team in time on ice with 26:56.

Jeff Carter led the Kings in shots with four, Jake Muzzin led in blocked shots with four, and Drew Doughty led in time on ice with 26:03.

Game Four will be played Wednesday  in New York at 5:00 PT.

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.