SAN JOSE, CA – Tonight’s dance in San Jose was a testament to what the Kings were playing for.
The top spot never comes easy.
In what was a fight to secure first place in the Pacific Division against the Sharks at the SAP Center, the Kings fought through an eight-round shootout until San Jose could finally shake them off.
The Kings fell to San Jose 3-2 tonight in a game that was largely dictated by goaltenders Ben Scrivens and Antti Niemi. Both the Kings and Sharks recorded 40 shots apiece, were each granted fluke goals, and finished the night in a breakaway contest that feature 16 shooters in total.
These two clubs never cease to entertain when playing one another.
Jeff Carter, in his second game back since returning from his foot injury, got the Kings off to a hot start by scoring on the night’s first shot, just :18 seconds into the contest. Carter roofed a through-the-legs pass from Dwight King for his sixth goal of the season.
San Jose would add a pair of second period goals to take a 2-1 lead, although the Kings outshot the Sharks 19-7 in the middle frame.
With 12:37 remaining in regulation, Drew Doughty knotted up the game as he banked an apparent pass to Jarret Stoll off of a San Jose defenseman to beat Antti Niemi.
Ben Scrivens got credit for the assist on Doughty’s goal, his first career NHL point.
Scrivens was spectacular in the crease yet again, making 38 saves on San Jose’s 40 shots through 65 minutes of play. Scrivens was able to bail out the Kings in the third period when they took four consecutive penalties, successfully ousting the Sharks on all four of their third period power play chances.
Tonight’s shootout bout went an astounding eight rounds. The Kings scored three times: Anze Kopitar (1st), Justin Williams (4th), and Dustin Brown (5th). Joe Thornton beat Ben Scrivens in the eighth round, and Tyler Toffoli couldn’t bury the rebuttal.
The Kings tied a franchise record tonight, and have recorded at least one point in eleven consecutive games (7-0-4). The Kings have had 11-game point streaks only two other times in team history. The 1973-1974 season (9-0-2), and the 2010-2011 season (8-0-3). The Kings can break the record Saturday night.
Tonight was San Jose’s 10th straight win against the Kings on home ice in Northern California. The Sharks haven’t won in Los Angeles in their last 11 visits.
The Kings now have a 16-6-4 record, good for 5th place in the Western Conference. They return to Los Angeles after a Thanksgiving Holiday break to play the Calgary Flames Saturday night at STAPLES Center.