Skip to Main Content

Kings end skid, snap Sharks' winning streak

by Eric Gilmore

SAN JOSE -- It was late in the second period Monday at SAP Center, and the Los Angeles Kings' scoring drought hit the 154-minute mark and counting in a scoreless game against the San Jose Sharks.

The Kings had been blanked 3-0 by the Anaheim Ducks on Saturday at Dodger Stadium. There was certainly no guarantee they'd break through against Sharks backup goaltender Alex Stalock, who had consecutive shutouts entering the game.

But Anze Kopitar scored at 17:56 of the period, and that one goal was enough for Jonathan Quick and the Kings.

Quick made 23 saves to lead the Kings to a 1-0 victory, recording his third shutout of the season and third against San Jose in his career.

"I mean, I guess we needed a win like this to break out of the slump," Kopitar said. "[Quick] was obviously solid back there and gave us a chance to win. I guess one was enough. We hit a couple posts, had a couple good chances. Could have been two or three, but it doesn't really matter. It was enough for two points."

Stalock made 20 saves and extended his shutout streak to a franchise record 178:55 before Kopitar scored. Stalock broke Evgeni Nabokov's mark of 170:58 set in January 2009.

The Kings ended their five-game winless skid and snapped San Jose's six-game winning streak.

Los Angeles also ended San Jose's streak of seven straight regular-season wins at SAP Center in the series. Counting the postseason, Los Angeles had a 10-game winless skid at San Jose. The Kings won a regular-season game at San Jose for the first time since Dec. 27, 2010. They had their first win at San Jose since Game 4 of a Western Conference Quarterfinal series on April 23, 2011.

Quick made a huge glove save less than two minutes into the game when Sharks forward Bracken Kearns fired from just right of the crease.

"We don't score many goals," Kings coach Darryl Sutter said. "So you got to make big saves and you got to limit the other team, and you got to bear down on opportunities. We had plenty of opportunities. ... This is a tough building to come into and get one point, let alone two. You can say you worked hard and not get nothing."

After a scoreless first period, Kopitar gave the Kings a 1-0 lead with his 15th goal of the season.

Jeff Carter sent a pass from the right wing toward Kopitar in the low slot. A diving Brent Burns got his stick on the puck, but it deflected ahead to Kopitar, and he beat Stalock from close range to his stick side, ending the Kings' scoring drought at 154:43.

"I was cutting it close to going offside too," Kopitar said. "I tried to drag my toe as much as I could to not obviously go offside. One of their guys tipped it and was actually helping me out because it stopped it for me a little bit. And after that I was just trying to do something and it worked out for me."

Stalock said he "had the poke check out" before Burns made contact with the puck and wanted to "cut (Kopitar) off and not let him come back the other way. But with the puck getting knocked down, he was kind of able to stop and slow everything down so I was caught with it out there."

The Sharks had only nine shots through two periods to 13 for Los Angeles, but finished with a 23-21 edge in a typical defensive battle between these Pacific Division rivals.

"Every game we seem to play against them, it’s a one-goal game and offense is at a premium and so are shots," Sharks captain Joe Thornton said. "I think both teams played real well defensively and they got the break with one goal."

Los Angeles went on a four-minute power play at 11:08 of the third after San Jose's Joe Pavelski went to the box for high-sticking Kopitar and drawing blood. The shorthanded Sharks nearly pulled even, but Quick stopped Tommy Wingels' backhand from just left of the crease with under seven minutes left.

After San Jose pulled its goaltender, Quick stopped Dan Boyle's shot from the low slot just before the horn, securing the victory.

"You prepare to stop everything every game," Quick said. "If you don't think you're going to stop everything every game, you probably won't last in this League very long. It was a good win. We had a couple of PKs where we had to dig in there. [Kopitar] scores a beautiful goal there. That's a huge win for us. They're a great team in their own building."

The Kings went 0-for-5 on the power play, extending their drought to 0-for-16. San Jose went 0-for-3 with the man advantage.

Stalock had shutouts in his previous two starts against the Florida Panthers and Winnipeg Jets and a shutout streak of 140:59. Before his first two career shutouts, he made 35 saves in a 3-2 shootout victory against the Chicago Blackhawks on Jan. 5. His streak began after Chicago's Michal Rozsival scored at 4:01 of the third period.

"Alex was real good," Sharks coach Todd McLellan said. "Excellent experience for him tonight playing against that team, to fight through their size and their strength around the net, their deflections. It was very solid and we're very happy with him."

San Jose and Los Angeles met for the first time since Dec. 19 at Staples Center when Sharks rookie Tomas Hertl suffered a potential season-ending knee injury in a collision with Kings captain Dustin Brown. Brown received a major penalty for kneeing and a game misconduct, but no supplemental discipline from the NHL. Hertl, who has 15 goals and 25 points in 35 games, underwent surgery.

Sharks fans booed Brown whenever he touched the puck, but San Jose seemed more intent on trying to get a win than payback.

The Kings outshot San Jose 8-4 in a scoreless first period and Stalock made a handful of tough saves. He snared a shot by Kopitar from the left circle with 4:52 left in the period and another Kopitar blast from the slot later in the period.

One period later, Kopitar broke through for the game-winner that ended the Kings' skid.

"Sometimes you need a game or an opponent like San Jose or like St. Louis where there's a heavy game, a playoff-like atmosphere," Kopitar said. "I thought there was certainly that out there tonight, and we were able to get the two points. That's the most important thing."

View More