Not tonight. San Jose was badly outplayed and fell to the Kings 3-1 in their first game back from their CBA-mandated holiday break.
The Sharks never played particularly well, but they got on the board first on a Joe Pavelski tally that had Jonathan Quick looking like a goalie who deserves a 20-year deal instead of a 10-year contract. Well, from my perspective, anyway.
From there it was all Los Angeles as goals from Tyler Toffoli and Anze Kopitar tied and then gave the Kings the lead before Jake Muzzin made it 3-1. The Kings' second and third goals came on the powerplay, the first time the Sharks had given up multiple powerplay goals in a game since their loss to Boston on Oct. 21.
San Jose's defense played poorly, allowing 29 shots to get through to Niemi and noted bad-hockey-player Scott Hannan committed what amounted to back-to-back penalties in the third, the first of which led to the Muzzin goal.
The Sharks had chances to get back in the game, despite not attempting many shots. Quick didn't look particularly good in net, but he, and more importantly the defense in front of him, did enough to keep the Sharks' offense pinned down for most of the game.
Things don't get much easier for the Sharks going forward as they head back to San Jose to play Vancouver on Tuesday before flying right back down to Southern California where they'll play the Ducks on New Years Eve.
- The Kings are a great hockey team, particularly defensively, so losing a game after a layoff to the defending champs in their own building isn't exactly sky-is-falling type stuff.
- That being said, the problem is what it has been all season: The process to getting the results has been spotty at times and downright dreadful at others. The Sharks never appeared to be in the game against a team they took to seven games in back-to-back playoff series. That's not great!
- Scott Hannan is a dreadful hockey player. It's not news, but I'm going to keep saying until he plays terrible for someone else's favorite hockey team.
- Speaking of leaky defense, I sure hope that Mirco Mueller kid turns into a good hockey player because the Sharks badly need some help in the blue line department.
- I don't think a single player on the Sharks had anything resembling a good game tonight. Except Niemi, whose even strength save percentage got a nice boost this evening.
- The Sharks had just two opportunities on the man-advantage and neither looked particularly promising. Near the end of the game the Sharks played nearly a minute of 6-on-4 hockey and weren't able to get as much as a shot on net.
- On the bright side, John Scott didn't play! We all have something to celebrate.
FTF Three Stars
1st Star: Anze Kopitar
2nd Star: Jake Muzzin
3rd Star: Marian Gaborik