Sharks start slow, run headfirst into Quick, and get shutout by the Kings 2-0

You have to love how the Sharks finished tonight's game, controlling the play and throwing everything they had at Kings netminder Jonathan Quick.

But you have to wonder just when the Sharks slothful starts are going to subside, as games like these show why a 60 minute effort is the only recipe that can cook up a culinary creation that tastes like a win when you're sharing the table with an excellent goaltender and a team committed to clearing out the front of the net.

San Jose fell to Los Angeles tonight as the Kings got goals from Mike Richards and Ethan Moreau in their 2-0 victory. Jonathan Quick made 33 saves in the game, posting his NHL-leading fourth shutout of the season.

The first period was a physical affair on one side of the ledger, as the Kings came out in the opening minutes and proceeded to get down to basics-- get pucks deep, work the puck up to their defenseman, and let their talented blueline core bomb away as the forwards crashed the net. San Jose did a good job of keeping the Kings and their chances to the periphery for the majority of the period, but it didn't matter much as Los Angeles would put one past Niemi from a low-chance scoring area.

Following a harmless looking dump-in to the far corner, Sharks defenseman Justin Braun picked up the puck and attempted to backhand it up the boards up to a waiting Torrey Mitchell. Unfortunately for the young defenseman Ethan Moreau read the play like a book, and after picking up the turnover proceeded to throw the puck at the Sharks net from the end line. An unsuspecting Antti Niemi didn't manage to correct his angle and watched as Moreau's shot snuck through him for a 1-0 Kings lead.

Frazer McLaren would head to the box later in the period after treating Jonathan Quick to a Joe Pavelski esque snow shower, but lacking the seasoned experience of his 27 year old teammate, got rung up for an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. San Jose would go on to kill the penalty and continue to improve immensely shorthanded ever since implementing their 1-3 scheme three weeks ago.

The second period started off ugly for San Jose as the Sharks were held without a shot for the first 6:11 of the period. Mike Richards would give the Kings a 2-0 lead after receiving a beautiful pass from Simon Gagne. After receiving the puck following a clean entry into the zone, Gagne circled around behind the net and delivered a saucer pass over the outreached stick of Niemi to find Richards in front of the net. A quick snap shot through Niemi's five-hole did the damage and San Jose found themselves down by a pair and struggling to get anything going.

It didn't get better from there, as San Jose continued to have issues in nearly all facets of the game. Things managed to turn around late in the second however, as San Jose received two straight power plays in the last four minutes of the frame.

The Sharks were deadly with their chances, moved the puck well, and did just about everything except get one past Jonathan Quick who went from being untested in the first thirty five minutes to a man that was going to see a lot of rubber the rest of the tilt.

The third period began where the second left off, with San Jose controlling the majority of the play and continuing to force the Los Angeles defense on their heels. Todd McLellan played his line blender cards right on cue, skating Thornton with Marleau-Havlat while Pavelski got a spin with Couture-Clowe, and the Sharks managed to do what they weren't able to do in the earlier portion of the game-- generate sustained offensive pressure and get dangerous looks on net. After Logan Couture hit the post early in the frame it looked as if the Sharks were going to pot one, but Quick continued to compile a video lesson for all young goaltenders in Los Angeles county to learn from.

San Jose received a scare in the middle of the period when Dustin Brown broke through the neutral zone, slicing and dicing his way through the San Jose defense. After getting around Justin Braun with an excellent move that left Braun in the dust, Brown drove hard to the net and put the puck on net. Niemi layed out to stop the first two wacks, but the third one managed to creep by him. After the Toronto gargoyles were awoken to review the goal, it was ruled that Slava Voynov kicked in the puck with his skate, disallowing the goal-- video evidence showed that Dustin Brown may have managed to touch the puck with his stick before it crossed the line, but there wasn't a conclusive angle to give the now rambunctious Staples Center crowd what they were looking for.

Jonathan Quick would help ease any of those concerns.

Quick would go on to make 13 saves in the final frame, and 33 throughout the tilt, giving the Kings a victory over their division rival.

The Sharks, who have been handed their first back-to-back loss since October 17th, will look to reassess their first periods, get better play from their top defensive pairing, and make sure Jamie McGinn keeps eating whatever he has been eating in preparation for a Thursday night matchup against the Montreal Canadiens.