SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) - From Patrick Marleau's opening goal to Joe Thornton's final illegal check, the Sharks had all the energy the Los Angeles Kings lacked.
That's a familiar refrain over the past few years for San Jose, which always seems to be a step ahead of their downstate rivals.
Marleau had two goals and an assist, and Evgeni Nabokov stopped just 14 shots in the Sharks' third victory over the Kings in less than three weeks, 4-1 on Tuesday night.
Rookie Milan Michalek and Nils Ekman also scored, and Mark Smith and Kyle McLaren had two assists apiece for the Sharks, who have earned at least one point in nine of their last 10 games to get back in the Pacific Division race.
The Kings might be nine points ahead in the standings, but they're winless in 10 of their last 11 meetings with San Jose - meetings that grow chippier every time, culminating in Thornton's ejection for a hit from behind.
``They might be a little bit fatigued, but we don't care,'' Nabokov said of the Kings, who couldn't keep up in their third game in four nights. ``We're trying to get together our own team and keep going on this roll. We've been skating pretty good, and that's why they were trying to change the game, fighting a little more. ... It didn't work.''
Joe Corvo scored with 14:08 to play for the Kings, who managed just eight shots in the first two periods of a one-sided game. Jason LaBarbera made 26 saves for Los Angeles, which has lost six of its last nine games - including San Jose's 4-3 overtime victory at Staples Center on Saturday.
``(Fatigue) was only a factor after we had to kill all the penalties in the third period,'' Kings coach Andy Murray said of the Sharks' six power plays in the second. ``I liked our competitive level, but we just wore ourselves out.''
Thornton did his share to wear out Los Angeles, too. He went scoreless for just the fourth time since joining the Sharks, but the star center got a five-minute boarding penalty and a game misconduct with 8:47 to play for hitting Tom Kostopoulos from behind.
It was the second ejection in two weeks for the high-scoring Thornton, who also was kicked out of his return game in Boston on Jan. 10. Kostopoulos returned to the game moments later.
But Nabokov made a few big saves as San Jose killed off Los Angeles' ensuing five-minute power play, and Marleau added an empty-net goal from his own blue line with 2:22 to play.
``In the third period of back-to-back games, I don't know if they really had the energy to take advantage of the power play,'' Sharks coach Ron Wilson said. ``We talked about if we pushed the pace, there's a good chance we'll draw penalties tonight.''
Marleau, the Sharks' second-leading scorer with 54 points, also scored three points in San Jose's win over the Kings three days earlier. Jonathan Cheechoo extended his scoring streak to a franchise-record 12 games with an assist on Michalek's goal, which put San Jose up 3-0 late in the second period.
Marleau got San Jose off to another fast start at home, scoring just 2:46 into the game on a clever blind pass from Smith, who surpassed his previous career high with his 16th point of the season.
The Sharks threatened regularly after that, but the Kings struggled to mount the simplest offensive charges. San Jose finally scored again on a power play when Ekman split two defenders and beat LaBarbera behind Grant Stevenson's partial screen.
``I've been playing so slow lately,'' said LaBarbera, who has just one victory since Nov. 5. ``(The second period) is as good as I've played in a while. It wasn't a great goal. I thought he was going to shoot harder and higher.''
Moments after Ekman's goal, Kings agitator Sean Avery ruined a partial breakaway chance for Corvo by tussling with two Sharks behind the play, forcing officials to blow it dead.
Just 51 seconds later, Cheechoo caught Kings defenseman Jeff Giuliano napping and found Michalek alone for another power-play goal against a defenseless LaBarbera.
Notes: Kings C Pavol Demitra missed his ninth straight game with a leg injury. He hasn't played since Jan. 5, two days before Los Angeles' last trip to San Jose. ... Marleau has 38 points in his last 30 games. ... San Jose's Scott Thornton pummeled George Parros in a second-period fight.