Happy New Year!
If the Sharks resolution in 2017 was to never lose a game, I guess they'll have to wait for 2018.
Tanner Pearson's goal 58 seconds into overtime gave the Los Angeles Kings a 2-1 victory over the Sharks to start off 2017. After falling to the Kings by one goal to end 2016, the Sharks began the New Year's by losing their second straight game to Los Angeles.
The first period was reminiscent of San Jose's 3-2 loss to Los Angeles on New Years eve. The Kings were a step (a skate?) ahead of the Sharks in the opening 20 minutes, establishing a strong forecheck and putting 16 pucks on net to the Sharks' six during the scoreless frame. Peter DeBoer said Saturday night that the Sharks didn't deserve to win Saturday's game against the Kings and in doing so subtly challenged his team. A lethargic first period wasn't the result DeBoer hoped for, and I would've loved to be a fly on the wall in the dressing room during the first intermission. The lone Sharks "highlight" came from Micheal Haley who leveled Dustin Brown at the blue line as Brown had his head down focused on keeping the puck in San Jose's defensive zone.
First of all, Brown is easily the worst King so we all get a little giddy when something bad happens to him (even though they all are the worst in their own way*). Brown being stripped of his captaincy was by far one of the best things that happened this past summer. Second off, you can't have your head down when Haley steps on ice. It's like you're ASKING to get clobbered. Good work, Mike.
* does not apply to Devin Setoguchi
The Sharks seemed to receive whatever message DeBoer and his coaching staff delivered at intermission as Logan Couture scored the game's first goal at 11:56 in the second period, his 12th of the year. Couture took a short, neutral zone pass from Kevin LaBanc (man, I love him so much) and rifled a wrister that snuck under the right arm of Peter Budaj. Poor Budaj, his arm slowed the shot down but all he could do was watch the puck cross the goal line behind him.
The Kings immediately put pressure back on the Sharks after Brent Burns was called for a hold on Anze Kopitar, his second of the night. Towards the end of the man-advantage, Alec Martinez's shot from the right circle was saved by Jones but the rebound deflected off of Marian Gaborik and into the net for the equalizer. But wait! Our friends in Toronto (luv u, sitch room) reviewed the goal that showed the puck being batted past Jones off of Gaborik's glove. In what may have been one of the shortest official reviews that I can remember, the goal was waved off and San Jose kept its 1-0 lead. There was talk on the NBCSN broadcast that perhaps Dylan DeMelo's momentum into Gaborik was why it appeared Gaborik punched it in. You decide.
no goal pic.twitter.com/21Eo2ZjTbN— GIF Grand Maester (@myregularface) January 4, 2017
I've never played a minute of hockey in my life but I imagine scoring a goal has to be the greatest feeling in the world, so naturally getting a goal taken away has to be the worst feeling in the world. Minutes later Gaborik was sent to the sin bin for a high-sticking penalty which put San Jose on the power-play. The best chance on the power-play came from Kopitar who doesn't play for the San Jose Sharks but instead the Los Angeles Kings who had a short-handed breakaway that Jones denied him of, preserving the 1-0 lead that held after two periods.
Speaking of Jones, remember when the majority of you were worried about his slow start back at the beginning of the season? In his second season as a starter, Jones is quietly San Jose's most consistent player and arguably one of the most important ones on a team that is struggling scoring goals. Barring an unforeseen collapse, Jonesy will likely be an All-Star for the Pacific Division at the All-Star Game In Los Angeles at the end of the month.
After Justin Braun was called for a hook on Jeff Carter early in the third period, Carter himself tied the game up 1-1 off a Jake Muzzin pass from the left circle that Carter tipped in front of the crease. Muzzin knew exactly what he was doing as his "shot" was centered in between four Sharks and found #77 for his 21st goal of the season, passing Toronto rookie Auston Matthews and placing him five goals behind Sidney Crosby.
You cannot stop Jeff Carter. All you can do is hope he only scores one goal against you. pic.twitter.com/uHULsTw6gQ— #LAKings (@LAKings) January 4, 2017
Carter's goal really picked up the tempo of the game as the Kings and Sharks shifted momentum throughout the period. Midway through the third, Joonas Donskoi fed Melker Karlsson a beautiful pass in front of Los Angeles' net but Karlsson probably got like 3% of the shot that he actually wanted (he whiffed is what I'm trying to say) as Budaj sprawled to his right to make the save. From there, both teams traded chances back-and-forth for the rest of regulation. The two best players on the ice for the period were Jones and Budaj who made some spectacular saves and can thank their posts for some assistance.
Pearson's goal - his tenth of the year - on a beautiful feed from Carter gave the Kings two more crucial points as they look to catch the Sharks in the Pacific Division standings.
Home-and-home series sweep. pic.twitter.com/TzH7x3BPjk— #LAKings (@LAKings) January 4, 2017
- "Wait...who the fu....ohhhhhhhh duh." - actual words muttered by me tonight after seeing #41 on the ice for San Jose. "Twas a little weird seeing Mirco Mueller for the first time since early in the 2015-2016 season.
- Timo Meier looked super sharp tonight. When DeBoer shortened his bench towards the end of regulation, Meier got a lot of extra ice time and created several chances.
- I hate the Kings.
Fear the Fin's 3 Stars:
1. Jeff Carter
2. Martin Jones
3. Tanner Pearson