Coming off a win against Vancouver and travels down to Southern California, the San Jose Sharks needed to pace themselves to pull off a win against the Pacific Division leading Los Angeles Kings. Though it seemed exhaustion might have been a factor at first, the Sharks were able to amp up their play over the course of the game to come from a one goal deficit to win, 2-1.
Pete DeBoer started the game with some major line shuffling. Joe Thornton is still recovering and rehabbing his knee, and needed sheltered minutes on this back-to-back. He centered Joonas Donskoi and Melker Karlsson. Logan Couture centered a line with the other Joe and Tomas Hertl. Kevin Labanc slotted into the line up, following his call up from the San Jose Barracuda today, playing wing on Chris Tierney’s line with Mikkel Boedker. Closing out the line up was Joel Ward, Barclay Goodrow, and Timo Meier.
The Sharks’ defensive style of play came in handy against this offensively driven Kings group. Limiting their chances was an important task, as both teams struggled to set up in the first, with the Kings edging the Sharks in shots with eight, compared to the Sharks’ four. As Tim Heed sat in the box for tripping, Dustin Brown made quick work of the power play opportunity and put the Kings on the board first.
Coming out in the second period, the Sharks held down the fort and gained some momentum, out-shooting L.A. 15-11. The power play is still struggling, the Sharks failing to convert on both Drew Doughty penalties in the first and second period and a Nick Shore penalty in the third. After the first power play goal from the Kings, though, the Sharks’ penalty kill stayed solid for three more penalties against the good guys.
Just under six minutes into the third, Karlsson got the Sharks back in the game, banging in a rebound from Couture.
The lines continued to shuffle, but started to resemble combinations we’re more accustomed to. The fourth line that was so effective in the Anaheim game once again did the Sharks a solid when Barclay Goodrow’s shot deflected off Joel Ward’s skate and past Jonathan Quick, giving the Sharks their first lead with just over seven minutes left to play.
The Kings tried to make a late push for a tie, but the Sharks held them to just eight shots in the final frame. Despite the slow start, the Sharks picked up the pace and walked away from this weekend with four points, sitting third in the Pacific.
- Jumbo’s knee issues are cause for concern. While the Sharks are still viewing him as healthy enough to make a difference, back-to-back games with travel involved aren’t going to be easy for him. He still played nearly 17 minutes tonight.
- While getting contributions from guys like Karlsson, Ward, and Goodrow is great, the Sharks’ top guys are continuing to be held off the scoresheet. Brent Burns played over 25 minutes tonight and still hasn’t scored a goal this season.
- Martin Jones stopped 26 shots, while Quick fought off an equally impressive 31.
- The Sharks came in to tonight’s game with the worst even-strength goal total. They added two more tonight, giving them a total of 24 goals scored with both teams at full strength.
- Labanc was likely brought up as insurance in case Meier faced a suspension. Timo’s physical presence was very welcome against the Kings, as was Labanc’s speed over Jannik Hansen, who spent tonight in the press box despite a good game against his former team last night.