Special Teams Spur Streaking Kings

In a contest between California rivals, a win by either the San Jose Sharks or Los Angeles Kings, would mean a jump up into the Western Conference top eight.  While the Kings came into the bout with a four-game win streak, San Jose was fresh off a disappointing 5-3 loss at the hands of the Anaheim Ducks.

Anze Kopitar (Tom Turk/THW)

It was clear that the Kings were the true aggressor in this one.  Shot wise, from a physical perspective and especially on special teams.

During the early action, it was both teams really taking advantage of the odd man situation.  A questionable interference call on Anze Kopitar in the first, didn’t phase Los Angeles one bit.  Short-handed, L.A. broke out on a two-on-one.  That’s when Mike Richards snapped one by Antti Niemi, for his 16th and a one-goal edge.

Yet the Sharks would quickly counter.  The red-hot Martin Havlat, shot one off Rob Scuderi, collected his own rebound and beat Jonathan Quick to knot it up at one on the power-play.

Late in the second, Los Angeles regained the lead.  Kopitar with a nice pass from behind the cage hit Alec Martinez, who bested Niemi for his fourth and a 2-1 Kings advantage.

Early in the third, Kopitar made his presence felt again.  With L.A. on a 4-on-3 power-play and a delayed penalty to come on Brent Burns, Kopitar went top-shelf on Niemi and the Kings were rolling.  For Kopitar, it was his 24th tally and his fourth in as many games.

While Dan Boyle would draw the Sharks within one, it just wasn’t enough for the somewhat sluggish looking San Jose club.

A late marker by Dustin Penner and an empty netter by Jeff Carter, would salt it away for L.A.

With the 5-2 victory, that marks five straight wins for the Kings.  Additionally, Los Angeles now moves into the eighth spot in the West, at 36-25-12 (84 points).