The San Jose Sharks and Los Angeles Kings certainly do not have much love for each other, but playing for the second time in three days diminished what little there was between the two California rivals. The Sharks would heavily shuffle their defensive pairs with both Marc-Edouard Vlasic and David Schlemko out of the lineup and youngsters Dylan DeMelo and Micro Muller on the bottom pairing. The Kings got 26 saves from Peter Budaj, who statistically has been indistinguishable from Jonathan Quick. Their victory would even the season series at 2-2.
LA Kings SV%
Quick 2010: 91.8%
Quick 2011: 92.8%
Quick 2012: 90.2%
Quick 2013: 91.5%
Quick 2014: 91.8%
Quick 2015: 91.8%
Budaj 2016: 91.9%
— Travis Yost (@travisyost) January 4, 2017
Both teams came out but with very different agendas: the Sharks trying to answer for their loss in the final game of 2016 and the Kings trying to even the season series.
Both teams came out with good jump in the early going with a few chances on net, quick skating, and physical play. The Kings would get the first chance on the man-advantage when Brent Burns was ruled to interfere with Kyle Clifford as the Kings’ grinder worked to exit the defensive zone. Los Angeles would get a pair of shots on San Jose goalie Martin Jones and both teams would look for the opening goal.
The Sharks would get their first chance on the power play when Kyle Clifford interfered with Mirco Mueller, who appeared in his first NHL game back on April 9, 2016. Logan Couture would have a pair of shots with the first unit that would miss the net, and the Kings would kill the penalty without much difficulty and get three chances on Martin Jones shorthanded.
The Kings would keep the shot pressure up on the Sharks, outshooting the home team 16-6 in the opening 20 minutes, but neither team would get on the scoresheet.
After a lackluster first period for San Jose, the play would even out between the two teams and they would trade chances, but Jones would continue to keep the Kings off the board.
That would change at 11:56 as Logan Couture collected a soft Kevin Labanc pass in the neutral zone and head in on Budaj two-on-one. Couture used a small toe drag to get Budaj leaning and fired the shot short side as Jake Muzzin provided a partial screen as he slid over. It was Couture’s fourth goal in four games against the Kings this season.
Brent Burns would be whistled for his second minor penalty of the game with a holding call when he had a fist full of Anze Kopitar‘s sweater at 13:18. The Kings thought they evened the score but Alec Martinez’s shot was ruled to have been gloved into the net by Marian Gaborik, taking the power-play tally off the board. The Sharks would not allow a shot on goal during the remainder of the penalty.
Officials says puck was batted in by Gaborik's glove. Still 1-0 Sharks with 5:07 left in 2nd, 24 seconds on penalty
— Curtis Pashelka (@CurtisPashelka) January 4, 2017
The Sharks would get a late power play when Gaborik hit Mueller in the head with his stick and was sent off for a high-sticking minor. On the ensuing power play, the Sharks struggled to generate any pressure in the offensive zone before Anze Kopitar went in on a shorthanded breakaway, but Martin Jones would stick out the left leg with his glove in perfect position to save the dangerous shot and preserve the one-goal lead.
The Sharks’ jump came back in the early parts of the third period but the Kings would tie the game on their second try to do so. Jeff Carter perfectly deflected the point shot from Jake Muzzin at 3:03 of the period for the power-play goal with Justin Braun in the penalty box. The Kings’ stifling defense continued to contain the Sharks.
The Sharks had a glorious chance to take the lead when Joonas Donskoi whipped a perfect pass to Melker Karlsson on the top of the crease but he’d miss on the shot and Budaj would again cover the puck. The play energized the Sharks and would ramp up pressure on the Kings starting in the middle of the final frame.
The renewed energy raised another level when Nic Dowd headed to the penalty box for high-sticking Patrick Marleau. Like previous power plays, the Kings had the better of the chances. Tanner Pearson’s partial breakaway nearly squeezed the puck between Jones’ pads, who looked behind him but had it under him to keep the game tied.
The play opened up in the final five minutes. Both Couture and Jordan Nolan had big chances on opposite ends of the ice but the goalie duel continued on as the clock ticked down. The pace continued to be frantic as the two teams did not want to give up a loser point to a division rival, but extra time was necessary to find a winner.
Not much extra hockey was to be had. Kevin Labanc’s centering pass ricocheted to the center of the ice and the Kings took off down the ice. Jeff Carter‘s no-look pass hit Tanner Pearson and that would be the game just 58 seconds into the overtime.
Logan Couture (12) Assisted by Kevin Labanc and Paul Martin
Jeff Carter (21) (Power Play) Assisted by Jake Muzzin and Anze Kopitar
Tanner Pearson (10) Assisted by Jeff Carter
THW Three Stars
First Star: Tanner Pearson (overtime winning goal)
Second Star: Jeff Carter (goal, assist)
Third Star: Martin Jones (33 saves)
NEXT UP – Sharks
Minnesota Wild vs. San Jose Sharks
SAP Center – 7:30 PM PST on Thursday, Jan. 5, 2017
Broadcast Channels: CSN-CA, FS-N, FS-WI
First Meeting of the Season
NEXT UP – Kings
Detroit Red Wings vs. Los Angeles Kings
Staples Center – 7:30 PM PST on Thursday, Jan. 5, 2017
Broadcast Channels: SN, FS-W, FS-D
Dec. 15, 2016: Kings 4 Red Wings 1
Covering all manner of hockey on the West Coast, including the San Jose Sharks, San Jose Barracuda, Stockton Heat, WHL, and random prospect news and notes with random SM-Liiga coverage tossed in as well.