Sharks 4, Kings 3 (OT): Karlsson’s return makes for a Swede victory

Good things happen when your top players show up.

The special teams battle was real tonight, as the San Jose Sharks and Los Angeles Kings took a combined 10 minor penalties, scoring 2 power play goals and 1 shorthanded goal.

Both Pacific teams have been breaking in a number of young and inexperienced players this season, though San Jose’s prolonged success mixed with more recent mediocrity have kept them from the top-end talent that the Kings organization has in droves. The top-end talent, paired with the veteran depth have been the difference maker between two clubs — who still ultimately struggle with rosters that aren’t confident in their identity, or developed the chemistry that pries open cup windows — this season.

Powered by the returns of Erik Karlsson and Jonathan Dahlen, I’m sure, the Sharks came out ready to Beat LA, and they opened scoring less than three minutes into the first period, thanks to a Karlsson to Burns power play move. The Kings responded quickly, though, notching two goals within eight seconds of each other, to suddenly have a 2-1 lead with a little over six minutes down in the game.

Trading opportunities at 5-on-5, as well as plenty of penalties and power plays, it seemed as though the Kings were likely to edge out out the Sharks, but the third period opened with another play from Karlsson that resulted in a goal, this time a redirect by Alexander Barabanov, and with nearly a full period of hockey left, it was either team’s game. The Kings made a push to end it in regulation, but the disjointed play on both sides kept things from getting out of hand and once again, the Sharks found themselves in overtime.

Tomas Hertl netted the overtime winner by making Jonathan Quick look like an absolute fool with a wraparound goal — the most embarrassing goal for an NHL netminder to allow.

I’m not sure there’s much of a benefit in winning at this point in the season, and then hockey wasn’t exactly stellar on either side of the ice tonight, but I’m not going to complain about beating the Kings, especially ahead of this stretch against them.

Comment of the Game

Your time is now, pal.

First Period

Erik Karlsson is back and Zach Sawchenko is starting in net, let’s go Sharks!

19:02: That opening minute saw a little bit of a messy zone entry, but once they were in the offensive zone, the Sharks had the jets on, getting in close on Jonathan Quick.

18:15: God, I can’t lie, I love watching Quinton Byfield. Both of these teams have a lot of young and inexperienced players, which leaves plenty of opportunities to jump on mistakes.

17:53: Such as — Byfield gets called for hooking on Scott Reedy and the Sharks are on a power play after the delayed call.

17:21: Brent Burns just threaded a shot so beautifully through traffic from the high slot to notch a power play goal (and an assist from Karlsson, because obviously). Sharks up 1-0.

16:15: The Anze Kopitar line is putting pucks on Sawchenko.

15:36: Sawchenko with a stop on Andreas Athanasiou.

15:04: The fourth line is throwing their bodies around while trying to get the puck in the offensive zone. Kings are still able to break out the other way.

14:02: Kings tie it by sending Sawchenko sprawling, opening up the net for Phillip Danault. Tied 1-1.

13:54: Jesus, Athanasiou takes a chance, firing one from the top of the left circle and beats Sawchenko far side. It’s now 2-1, Kings.

12:31: Erik Karlsson had a beautiful fake out that didn’t go anywhere, but I sure have missed watching him play hockey.

11:32: Despite those two goals, Sawchenko looks pretty calm and collected in net. It shouldn’t have taken this long for him to get some starts, given what the goaltending injuries have been like.

10:47: Rudolfs Balcers hits the post short-side.

Timo Meier follows up with a wrap-around chance.

10:22: Just about halfway, shots are tied at 9 each.

9:49: Nick Bonino’s stick just shattered blocking a shot.

9:02: Scott Reedy is a penalty-drawing king, getting tripped by Dustin Brown and sending the Sharks to another power play.

8:05: First unit is going to have to get off soon. They’re a little more disjointed this time,

Burns fumbles the puck at the blue line, and now they’ve got an opportunity to change, at least.

7:02: Brown out of the box, penalty expired.

6:05: Noah Gregor was cursed by a witch who asked “feet or hands?”, making him so, so fast and giving him hands of lead.

4:57: The Kings can break into the zone so smoothly at times, but they aren’t great at maintaining offensive zone time.

4:18: Jonathan Dahlen robbed!!!!! Jail for Quick!!!!!!! Jail for a thousand years!!!!!

3:26: We’ve got a “Long Beach California native” shout out on the Kings’ broadcast, love that for Matt Nieto, the Long Beach native.

1:48: Adrian Kempe on a 2-on-1 gets a shot off, but Sawchenko makes the save.

1:27: Sawchenko with a series of bonkers saves, but now Dahlen is called for slashing. Kings to the power play.

0:45: Sharks doing a good job breaking up plays in the defensive zone on this kill.

Kings will have 33 seconds of power play time to open the second period.

Shots are 15-14, Kings leading.

END FIRST: Sharks 1, Kings 2

Second Period

19:40: Penalty expires, but Kings get some momentum going from the opening shift.

17:18: Reedy takes a shot, the rebound goes out and Jaret Anderson-Dolan takes off through the neutral zone with it, sending a chance in the opposite direction. Just a couple of quick kids.

15:40: Not a lot of stop and start, but plenty of back-and-forth action.

15:00: Shots are 18-15, Kings leading.

13:38: Meier gives it his all driving the net in his usual way. Draws a delayed penalty from Jordan Spence, as he crashes into Quick.

12:48: Kings finally touch the puck and Sharks head to the power play.

11:45: Top unit finally able to get something going, but now they’ve been out there for half of the penalty already.

11:06: Kings finally clear, just a few seconds of power play left and the top unit needs a change.

10:48: Penalty expires.

10:40: Tobias Bjornfot with a quick chance on Sawchenko.

Byfield and Jonah Gadjovich exchange some words and some shoves after the whistle.

9:42: Sharks heading to the power play, and LA isn’t too happy about it. They were hoping for an embellishment call. Sean Durzi gets called for interference on Timo Meier. Once again, it’s an opportunity for the Sharks to tie.

9:20: Trevor Moore gets a shorthanded goal on his third point of the night. Sharks gave up two shorthanded chances on that shift. It’s 3-1, Kings.

7:45: Jonathan Dahlen takes a shot that leads to some mess in front of the crease and it looks like Nick Bonino knocks it into the net, just barely and on a funky bounce, but it all spends the same. 3-2, Kings.

6:12: Jaycob Megna trips Trevor Moore right in front of an official in the corner and the Sharks are going on the penalty kill.

5:29: Sean Durzi is all over the place tonight, but overall, both teams are looking messy on the power play.

4:12: Penalty killed.

1:38: Not the second line’s best shift, but there was a line change happening right after finally getting into the offensive zone, so it was a weird mix of players for a minute.

0:22: Sharks might have gotten away with a two many men.

Shots are 26-21, Kings.

END SECOND: Sharks 2, Kings 3

Third Period

18:38: And it’s a tied game! Barabanov redirects a shot from Karlsson in the slot and the Sharks are pushing back.

17:18: Kings are getting a cycle going.

17:09: Reedy gets called for a crosscheck (a push from behind that knocks down Blake Lizotte) and the Kings will have a skater advantage.

15:09: Sharks kept LA from getting anything going on the power play, and Reedy gets back on the ice.

12:42: I feel like I’ve been following Byfield’s career for so long that I forget that he’s grown so much and is a much more physical player now.

11:54: Matt Roy tries for a backhander and Sawchenko doesn’t make a clean save, leaving Alex Iafallo to follow through. Luckily for San Jose, it doesn’t go in.

11:41: Delayed penalty to Blake Lizotte for basically tackling Logan Couture, Sharks back to the power play.

11:09: Kings with a shorthanded 2-on-1, fumbled at the last second, but looked pretty dangerous for awhile there.

10:06: Quick with a big save, that is able to bounce back to a Kings player and out of the zone. Not much power play time left.

9:46: Moore with a shorthanded shot.

9:41: Penalty expires.

8:57: Nick Bonino fires a shot that goes wide.

8:32: Balcers sets up Burns for a nice one-timer from the right circle, but the slot was blocked up.

6:25: Arthur Kaliyev takes a penalty for putting his stick between Reedy’s legs, but he’s not too happy about the call. Play goes on, Sawchenko heads to the bench.

6:03: The Kings touch the puck and the delayed call will begin. Sharks to the power play.

4:59: Tomas Hertl is mad, as he’s called for tripping on Bjornfot. It’s 4-on-4 for 57 seconds.

4:10: Sharks made a push on the end of the 4-on-4 but get pushed out of the zone. Kings will got to a short power play.

3:01: Play stops with 2 seconds before it’s back to even-strength.

2:49: Karlsson and Hertl try to a goal, Anderson-Dolan gets the rebound and takes it the other way.

Couple of chances from the JAD line, play stays active for a long time up close on Sawchenko. Kings are doing anything they can to try to get a greasy goal.

0:43: Kings are pushing, shots 35-29 as regulation dies down.

It’s a three-point night, this one is going to overtime.

END REGULATION: Sharks 3, Kings 3


Sharks starting Meier, Couture and Karlsson. Kings going with Kempe, Kopitar and Durzi.

4:04: Burns and Hertl come out, Meier is the last to change. Barabanov replaces him.

3:47: Hertl ends it with a wraparound goal on Quick, pulling him down to splay out on the right side of the net before skating it behind the net and in on the left side.

FINAL SCORE: Sharks 4, Kings 3 (OT)

Whether you’re rooting for Team Tank or still holding out hope that the San Jose Sharks are indeed just one good run from breaking into the postseason, I think we can all agree that beating the Los Angeles Kings is always going to feel good. There’s just something about #BeatLA that hits hits different and even if the rivalry has quieted down, disrupting a SoCal team’s postseason push is just a cherry on top.

Check out the questions and concerns heading into tonight in our game preview.

Here’s everything you need to know to tune in:



Jonathan Dahlen — Logan Couture — Timo Meier
Alexander Barabanov — Tomas Hertl — Rudolfs Balcers
Jonah Gadjovich — Scott Reedy — Noah Gregor
Andrew Cogliano — Nick Bonino — Jeffrey Viel

Jacob Middleton — Brent Burns
Erik Karlsson — Jaycob Megna
Marc-Edouard Vlasic — Nicolas Meloche

Zach Sawchenko
Alex Stalock

Expected Scratches: Ryan Dzingel, Matt Nieto, Ryan Merkley

Injured Reserve: Radim Simek (undisclosed), Mario Ferraro (lower body), James Reimer (lower body), Kevin Labanc (upper body), Adin Hill (lower body)


Adrian Kempe — Anze Kopitar — Arthur Kaliyev
Trevor Moore — Phillip Danault — Andreas Athanasiou
Alex Iafallo — Quinton Byfield — Dustin Brown
Carl Grundstrom — Blake Lizotte — Jaret Anderson-Dolan

Jacob Moverare — Jordan Spence
Olli Maatta — Matt Roy
Tobias Bjornfot — Sean Durzi

Jonathan Quick
Cal Petersen

Expected Scratches: Lias Andersson

Injured Reserve: Drew Doughty (undisclosed), Mikey Anderson (upper body), Brendan Lemieux (lower body), Viktor Arvidsson (lower body), Alexander Edler (ankle)

How to Watch

Tonight’s game will be broadcast regionally on NBCSCA and BSW. Streaming is available with a subscription to ESPN+ (blackout restrictions do apply). The radio call will be streamed through the Sharks Audio Network. Puck drop is at 7:30 p.m. PT/10:30 p.m. ET at Arena in Los Angeles, California.