The Los Angeles Kings dropped the final game of a seven-game homestand on Wednesday night. The 3-2 loss to the San Jose Sharks dropped Los Angeles to an overall record of 3-4-0 during the seven-game stretch and increased the gap between the two teams in the standings to eight points.
Overall, it was a night of missed opportunity for the Kings. They missed a chance to salvage a stretch of hockey that could have netted them 14 points in the standings. They missed a chance to win a division game and gain ground on a team they are chasing in the standings. And they missed a chance to gain any momentum to carry over into their next stretch of games, a five-game road trip to close out the month.
“Obviously every team wants to be a good team at home, have confidence at home,” said Los Angeles’ Tanner Pearson, via LA Kings Insider. “Going under .500, we went in the seven games, obviously it didn’t go the way we wanted.”
Martin Jones made 22 saves, Joe Thornton had two points and Joe Pavelski netted the game-winner for the Sharks. Marian Gaborik scored his second goal in three games to keep things interesting but the Kings could never catch San Jose.
It was the final meeting of the season between the two in-state rivals. With the win, the Sharks also edged the Kings for a 3-2-0 advantage in the season series.
It didn’t take long for the Sharks to open the game’s scoring. Just 3:31 into the period, Thornton cycled high in the offensive zone where he dropped the puck to Brent Burns on the left point. Burns let go of a wrister that hit Anze Kopitar in the foot and redirected the shot past Peter Budaj in net. A quick strike for the team from the north.
The Kings, though, were quick to respond. Just over two minutes after Burns gave his team a one-goal lead, Tanner Pearson redirected a Derek Forbort shot from the point past Jones to knot the game at one. The two goals were indicative of how the game’s opening period was played, back-and-forth chances until the Sharks struck again.
Tommy Wingles pushed the Shark’s lead back to two when he and Michael Haley converted on a two-on-one chance. Wingles took Haley’s pass in stride and beat Budaj high to the glove side to take a 2-1 lead into the game’s first intermission.
The second period was a very choppy affair. Penalties, icings and other stoppages of play didn’t allow much flow to develop through the first half of the period. That changed at the period’s halfway point. At the 10-minute mark of the period, the Sharks capitalized while on the power play
Thornton passed the puck into the slot where Joel Ward redirected it behind the net. Pavelski played the puck off of the end boards and bounced it off Budaj and into the net. With exactly one-half of the game to play, San Jose had taken a 3-1 lead.
But just over five minutes later Marian Gaborik brought the team from the south back to within one. A rebound bounced off Jones which created a scramble in the slot. Kyle Clifford pushed the puck back into and through the madness in front of Jones to Gaborik’s stick. Gaborik had a wide-open net to bury the puck in.
— Eric Burger (@Kingsgifs) January 19, 2017
The final 20 minutes opened with a sort of feeling out period between the two teams. The play was played along the boards and through the neutral zone for much of the period’s first couple of minutes. San Jose’s Michael Haley did get a grade-A scoring opportunity when he came off the side boards and beat Budaj on the short-side but rang the puck off the post.
Just over five minutes into the period, the pace changed. It all started with Jones making a flurry of saves. The series started with Jones getting across the crease from left to right to rob Dwight King. The save kept the Sharks ahead by one and probably saved the game with over ten minutes remaining.
The next and last, high-quality scoring chance for either team came with 4:40 left in the game. Mikkel Boedker took the puck through the neutral zone for a clear-cut breakaway on Budaj. The forward fired a wrist shot towards the net but missed high and was unable to finish off the Kings.
Over the final minutes of the game, Los Angeles failed to mount any sort of real pressure or threat of any late game heroics against their California rivals.
SJS – Brent Burns (19) assisted by Joe Thornton (25) and Melker Karlsson
LAK – Tanner Pearson (14) assisted by Derek Forbort (12) and Dustin Brown (14)
SJS – Tommy Wingles (5) assisted by Michael Haley (6)
SJS – Joe Pavelski (16) assisted by Joel Ward (13) and Joe Thornton (26)
LAK – Marian Gaborik (4) assisted by Kyle Clifford (5) and Dustin Brown (15)
THW Three Stars
First: Joe Pavelski (1 goal)
Second: Joe Thornton (2 assists)
Third: Dustin brown (2 assists)
Los Angeles Kings at New York Islanders
Barclays Center – 4:00 p.m. PST on Saturday, Jan. 21
Broadcast channels – MSG, KCOP-13
2016-17 Season Series:
First meeting of the season
Tampa Bay Lightning at San Jose Sharks
SAP Center– 7:30 p.m. PST on Thursday, Jan. 19
Broadcast channels – SN1, CSN-CA
2016-17 Season Series:
Nov. 12 – SJS 3 – TBL 1
Eric received his BA in Journalism from California State University, Northridge. Eric has contributed to RinkRoyalty.com, Buffalowdown.com and California Rubber Magazine.