San Jose came out flat against the Kings on New Year’s Eve and will need to start a new winning streak when 2017 rolls around after a 3-2 defeat on Saturday night. The Sharks played poorly against their SoCal rivals and despite a flurry of chances with Martin Jones pulled didn’t deserve a result against the Kings after a sloppy performance.
Brent Burns and Kevin Labanc pulled the Sharks within a goal in the second and third periods but to no avail. Drew Doughty, Tanner Pearson and Jeff Carter each picked up tallies for the Kings to keep the Sharks from extending their lead in the Pacific while ending the Kings’ skid.
Burns’ goal came as many do: from the blue line. Joe Pavelski screened Peter Budaj in front but didn’t get a piece of the puck as it went under the goalie’s legs. Labanc chipped in with his seventh goal of the season, good enough for fifth on the team, by whipping home a strong shot from Budaj’s left.
San Jose got its butt kicked in possession across the board while playing without star defender Marc-Edouard Vlasic. The Canadian stayed in San Jose after taking a puck to the face against the Philadelphia Flyers on Friday and an immediate update on his status was not available.
That hurt the Sharks, obviously, but that alone can’t be blamed for San Jose’s defeat. Not one factor can be given all the blame, of course. Not your unlucky shirt, nor my unlucky pregame meal. San Jose didn’t show up until much too late in the game to win and as a result took a tough defeat at the hands of its biggest rival.
The Sharks showed flashes of decency but sloppy penalties kept them from anything resembling consistency. The top line got its butt kicked as Joe Thornton and Pavelski both had a rough night in terms of possession despite playing a big role in the late flurry that nearly got the Sharks the game-tying goal.
San Jose doesn’t get much of a break from the Kings. The Sharks host L.A. on January 3 back at SAP Center on NBC Sports to begin a three-game homestand that will see both Minnesota and Detroit come to town. The Sharks then go on an Alberta road trip which features a back to back against Edmonton and Calgary before returning to the Shark Tank to host the St. Louis Blues on Fear the Fin Night.
Fear the Fin Three Stars
1. Tanner Pearson (2 points)
2. Jeff Carter (2 points)
3. Alec Martinez (2 points)