Coming into the night looking for an uplifting win prior to the All-Star break, the Kings fell short in a 3-2 loss to the San Jose Sharks Wednesday night at SAP Center.
They’ll have some time to think about their struggles now, with a week off until their next bout against the Chicago Blackhawks on January 28.
The Kings didn’t have the start they had hoped for, getting outshot 10-6 in the first period, while San Jose’s Logan Couture buried the opening, and only goal of the first period.
Couture beat defenseman Alec Martinez for the first goal of the night, flying by the Kings’ defenseman before he beat Jonathan Quick high to the blocker side to give the Sharks a 1-0 lead just over 10 minutes into the contest.
San Jose was chugging from the start; the Kings were fortunate to find themselves down only a goal after the opening frame.
In the second, Kings’ Captain Dustin Brown tied the game with just over eight minutes to play in the second period, potting his eighth goal of the campaign, showing impressive perseverance on what initially looked to be a broken play.
Brown, who had his initial shot blocked stop San Jose’s zone, continued to follow through on the play, picked up a loose rebound, and tucked home a rebound past Antti Niemi to tie the score 1-1 with 8:21 left to play in the second period.
The Sharks then reeled off a pair of power play goals, one late in the second, and one early in the third, to gain a 3-1 lead with just over 11 minutes to play in the third period.
The Kings inched back to cut their deficit to one goal with :27 seconds to play in regulation when Jeff Carter buried his 12th goal of the season, but there was little time to fight for a game-tying goal.
After winning an offensive zone faceoff, Carter set up shop in front of San Jose’s net. Anze Kopitar let loose a wrist-shot, and Carter got a piece of Kopitar’s bid, allowing the puck to pass San Jose’s Niemi.
There was no last-second magic tonight, the Kings walked away empty.
Entering the All-Star break, the Kings find themselves one point out of the final playoff spot in the Western Conference, with only two wins in their previous 11 games.
Anze Kopitar (2A) lead all Kings players in points scored (2), Jake Muzzin, Kyle Clifford, and Dustin Brown in shots taken (4), Matt Greene and Dwight King in hits delivered (5), Matt Greene, Drew Doughty, and Alec Martinez in shots blocked (3), and Drew Doughty in minutes played (29:01). Jonathan Quick made 21 saves in the loss.
With the loss, the Kings’ record drops to 20-15-12; their mark on the road away from STAPLES Center falls to 5-9-6. The Kings, like the rest of the NHL will now take a four-day break for the NHL All-Star Game in Columbus, Ohio. The Kings will return from the break to host the Chicago Blackhawks at STAPLES Center on January 28. The puck is slated to drop at 7:30PM PT.