Joe Thornton scores twice without a shot as the Sharks beat the rival Los Angeles Kings 3-2 in a shootout.
That sounds impossible (and Joe Thornton was credited with four shots), but the pass-happy Sharks captain did manage to put the puck past Ben Scrivens twice without really recording a shot, through an unfortunate bounce for Scrivens and a shootout goal. Yes, shootout. Joe Thornton shot in the shootout.
The first goal came a mere eighteen seconds into the game. Going against this season's trend, it was the Kings who scored first. As a shot bounced off the back boards, the coincidentally-named Dwight King guided the puck to Jeff Carter, who was left alone in front of the net. Kings lead, and as expected with teams as good as the Kings, they tend to win games they score first.
The Kings controlled the play for the first half of the first period; the Sharks had recorded more shots, but there was no question that Los Angeles was dominating possession. That all changed with an Andrew Desjardins boarding penalty on Dan Carcillo. Though the hit - which did seem to catch Carcillo's head - will be reviewed by the Department of Player Safety, the ensuing successful penalty kill seemed to energize the Sharks. For the remainder of the period, they had pretty much all the Fenwicks.
Early in the second, Joe Pavelski ties the game up at 1. Tyler Kennedy protected the puck on the boards, then managed to get a shot off from the boards. Pavelski collected the rebound, showed off the hands that will make him the top center on the United States' Olympic team, and shot the puck past Scrivens. That goal does not happen without Marty Havlat acting like Tomas Holmstrom and being a general nuisance in front of the crease.
After the tying marker, the game's general physical nastiness started being penalized. First there were coincidental minors for Andrew Desjardins and Dan Carcillo, and during the ensuing 4-on-4, Dan Boyle took a four minute high sticking penalty.
The final two minutes of that kill was the most impressive part of the game. That's not saying the play the rest of the game was unimpressive, or that the game was not a good one - far from it. For the final two minutes, the Sharks were hapless at getting the puck out of the zone. As the kill wore on, the Sharks seemed to hit a wall and moved only if absolutely necessary. Antti Niemi stood tall behind them, making six great saves as they absolutely stymied the Kings' power play. The crowd evoked the famous 5-on-3 Edmonton penalty kill and roared with every block.
With that kill came an avalanche of momentum for the Sharks, which culminated in only the second most embarrassing goal against for the Kings this season. Scrivens plays the puck behind his own net with Joe Thornton pressuring, so goes back to his crease as his teammates come to give him support. The puck follows him, bounces off both of his legs, and into the net to give Joe Thornton one fourth of a rooster game.
As it is a game against the Kings, there was no way that goal would stand as the game winner. A quarter of the way through the third period, Drew Doughty attempted to pass the puck to a crashing Jarret Stoll, except the puck goes off Scott Hannan's skate and past Antti Niemi.
After the Sharks' parade to the penalty box in the second, the Kings did the same in the third. And like the Kings, the Sharks failed to score on any of their chances, and it wasn't even close.
With no resolution in regulation, it was inevitable that the game would go to a shootout. EDITORIAL COMMENT: I hate the shootout. So of course, the shootout went eight rounds.
Kopitar, Williams, and Brown scored for the Kings. Pavelski, Hertl, Boyle, and Thornton scored for the Sharks, with both Pavelski and Boyle with very nice moves. Joe Thornton got the shootout winner, which is a sentence I never thought I would type.