SAN JOSE, Calif. - Shortly after Todd McLellan became the San Jose Sharks' new coach, he recognized the importance of convincing his talented team to shoot early and often.
With 82 shots and two easy wins in their first two outings, the Sharks are clearly paying attention to their new bench boss.
Tomas Plihal scored the short-handed go-ahead goal, Evgeni Nabokov had to make just 12 saves and the Sharks overwhelmed Los Angeles with 41 shots in a 3-1 victory Saturday night, blemishing Kings coach Terry Murray's debut.
Devin Setoguchi and Joe Pavelski also scored as the Sharks handily beat their second straight Pacific Division opponent after opening the season with a 4-1 win over Anaheim on Thursday night.
McLellan says his system isn't complicated, but it requires attention to puck possession and aggressive passing. It also calls for plenty of shots at the opposing net, and his players have seemed eager to oblige in both games.
"When you shoot, good things happen," said defenceman Marc-Edouard Vlasic, who had two assists. "The first 10 minutes of the game, we were a little too fancy. We got back to taking a lot of shots, and it started to pay off for us."
Defenseman Rob Blake had five of San Jose's shots while playing a second outstanding game for the Sharks, who signed the longtime Kings star as a free agent during the summer. Blake spent 13 1/2 of his first 18 NHL seasons with Los Angeles, including the past two, but left for the chance to join a playoff contender.
Alexander Frolov scored an early goal and Jason LaBarbera stopped 38 shots for the Kings, who hope to rebuild under Murray's direction after finishing last season tied with Tampa Bay with an NHL-low 71 points. Los Angeles actually won three games at the Shark Tank in November 2007 alone, but San Jose took control Saturday night with a dominant second period that included a 17-4 shot advantage.
"It was a faster game than the Anaheim game, and we had our legs underneath us and moved the puck well," McLellan said. "It was the first big test of many, to see how we would come out and how our leadership would react, and they passed."
The clubs finish a back-to-back miniseries Sunday night at Staples Center.
Anze Kopitar, the Kings' all-star centre, wasn't much of a factor in his first game since agreeing to a US$47.6-million, seven-year contract extension through 2016 earlier Saturday. Kopitar managed just one shot in 19 minutes of ice time.
"Jason kept us in it quite a lot of times there, and we can't let that happen," Kopitar said. "We have to be more responsible."
Frolov scored just 6 1/2 minutes in, banging home a one-timer on a pass from Michal Handzus, but Setoguchi tied it early in the second period on a rebound of Vlasic's shot. Setoguchi has one of the most enviable positions in hockey on a line with Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau, and he has capitalized with two goals in the Sharks' first two games.
With Thornton in the penalty box late in the second period, Vlasic threaded a difficult long pass down the boards to Plihal. The rookie deked defenceman Jack Johnson before beating LaBarbera to the stick side for his first goal.
Pavelski scored moments after another San Jose penalty ended early in the third period, converting a 2-on-1 with Jonathan Cheechoo by slipping a hard shot through LaBarbera's pads.
"We got on our heels early, and we never really recovered from that," LaBarbera said. "I think the first game is always tough. They already had their one game. ... We just have to get a better jump. We looked like we were flat-footed out there, and we were watching them skate around."
Notes: Kopitar's deal is the second-longest in Kings franchise history, surpassed only by Wayne Gretzky's eight-year deal in 1988. ... Sharks C Marcel Goc missed his second game with a back injury. ... Los Angeles C Patrick O'Sullivan, who missed nearly three weeks of training camp while working on a contract, was a healthy scratch. He's expected to play Sunday.