Tuesday night in Los Angeles was a record-setting night as soon as the puck was dropped at the opening faceoff. Captain Patrick Marleau
passed former Shark Mike Rathje on the Sharks all-time games played list, setting a new franchise mark with 672 games dawning the Teal. The Sharks celebrated Marleau’s achievement by defeating the Kings 3-1 in Los Angeles on Tuesday night.
for video highlights from Monday’s game.
Head Coach Ron Wilson would again dress seven defensemen and 11 forwards, sticking to the formula that produced back-to-back wins against Nashville last Saturday night and Phoenix on Monday night. Evgeni Nabokov manned the nets for the Sharks opposite Dan Cloutier who guarded the cage for the Kings.
The game got off to a quick start as defenseman Josh Gorges tripped up Kings forward Tom Kostopoulos in Sharks zone just 38 seconds into the opening period sending the Kings on the first man advantage. But the Sharks penalty killing unit was up to the test, holding the Kings to only one shot and no scoring chances on the opening power play.
The first offensive chance for the Sharks came six minutes into the first. Joe Thornton
got his stick on a pass at the Sharks blueline and forced the turnover. He quickly moved the puck to Bell who made the return feed to Thornton. As Thornton fired the shot in on Cloutier, Kings defenseman Aaron Miller was forced to hook rookie Joe Pavelski
who was crashing the net, giving the League’s most efficient power play unit their first man advantage.
Despite two quality scoring chances on the power play, first by Matt Carle, then by Thornton, Cloutier was up to the challenged and kept the game scoreless.
With 11 minutes to play in the first Marcel Goc would get a golden chance at the edge of the Kings crease, but he clanged a shot of the far post after a brilliant feed from linemate Patrick Rissmiller. Rissmiller chipped a puck at the Sharks blueline past the pinching defender and the Sharks went in on Cloutier on a two-on-one. Rissmiller drew both the defender and the goaltender towards him with a great move and then fed the puck to Goc who rang it off the pipe.
The Sharks kept the pressure on however and on the next shift, Steve Bernier took over. Bernier first drew a holding penalty on Kings center Marty Murray. Then on the ensuing man advantage, Bernier converted on the power play, chipping a puck past Cloutier after fortuitous bounce for the Sharks.
Christian Ehrhoff moved the puck to Carle in the Sharks zone. Carle then gained the redline and hammered a puck deep into the Kings corner to the left of Cloutier. The puck careened right into the slot, was gathered by Bernier who fired the puck on net, then drove home the rebound after Cloutier made the initial save giving the Sharks the 1-0 lead. The Sharks would take that 1-0 lead into the locker room after one period of play.
As they did in the first, the Kings drew a penalty in the first minute of the second period. This time the call went against Rob Davison who was whistled for holding. The Sharks easily killed the Davison minor, holding the Kings without a shot on the advantage.
A mental mistake by the Sharks opened the door for the Kings as San Jose was whistled for too many men on the ice with 13 minutes to play in the second. Unlike the two previous Kings power plays, Evgeni Nabokov was tested early and tested often. Nabokov made three outstanding saves, preserving the Sharks 1-0 lead.
As the Sharks bench minor expired and with the Kings on the doorstep, the Sharks swung all of the momentum onto their side. Rookie defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic
pounced on an Evgeni Nabokov rebound in the waning seconds of the advantage before Kings forwards Anze Kopitar and Dustin Brown could slam it into the Sharks net.
Vlasic cleared it through the Sharks slot where it was gathered by Rissmiller. Pavelski, who was serving the bench minor, stepped back onto the ice and took a perfect outlet feed from Rissmiller, then went in on the breakaway on Cloutier. Pavelski beat Cloutier low and to the blocker side, scoring his sixth goal in only 10th career NHL game, and gave the Sharks the momentum along with a 2-0 lead.
In the closing minutes of the second period, the Kings re-gained the momentum that they had lost after Pavelski’s goal. Nabokov was forced to make save after save and each time he did, his committee of defensemen cleared the puck out of harm’s way. With 1:39 second remaining in the second, the Kings pressure was overwhelming and the Sharks were forced to ice the puck. This prompted Wilson to wisely use his team’s one timeout, giving his players who were stuck on the ice a breather so they could weather the Los Angeles storm. The Sharks survived a ferocious Kings attack and took a 2-0 lead into the locker room after two periods of play despite being outshot 32-16.
To open the third, the Sharks took a page out of the Kings playbook. Goc drew a hooking penalty in the opening minutes on a tic-tac-toe passing play set up by Mike Grier and Rissmiller. Goc nearly broke free of his checker, but was hooked and missed the back door feed.
Adding insult to injury, Kings forward Sean Avery followed up with another penalty, tripping Ehrhoff deep in the Sharks zone and well behind the play. The Sharks would operate with 48 seconds on the 5-on-3 advantage just four minutes into the third period.
The Sharks killer instinct would take over as they would convert 45 seconds into the 5-on-3 chance, leaving them with time remaining on the Avery penalty. Jonathan Cheechoo controlled the puck in the Kings zone, moved it down low to Thornton who found a wide-open Pavelski at the back post. Pavelski jammed the initial shot into Cloutier’s sprawled out right pad, but then chipped the rebound top shelf for his second goal of the game and the first multi-goal game of his career. The Sharks stretched their lead to 3-0 with just over 15 minutes remaining in regulation.
The Kings ruined Evgeni Nabokov’s bid for an NHL-tying fourth shutout of the season on a fluke goal with 9:34 remaining in the third. Kings defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky gathered the puck on a busted play and fired it towards the Sharks cage. The puck pinballed first off Grier’s shin pad, then Carle’s stick and in behind Nabokov who had no chance on the play. The Kings converted on their 34 shot of the game to make it a 3-1 contest.
That would be the closest the Kings would get as the two teams played the remaining nine-plus minutes to a scoreless tie, giving the Sharks the 3-1 victory.
Rob Davison gave Kings forward Dustin Brown a taste of his own medicine, much to Brown’s displeasure. With 11:47 remaining in the third, Davison rocked Brown with a solid hip check at the Sharks line, sending him to the ice. The hit was retribution for Brown who had taken runs at and knocked down both Joe Pavelski
and Christian Ehrhoff earlier in the game…
If Josh Gorges is still sore at Thursday’s morning skate, he has a good reason. Former Shark Scott Thornton chopped down his old teammate Gorges as he retrieved the puck for an icing call. Gorges slammed into the end boards so hard, his helmet popped off exposing the defenseman’s flowing locks. Though he hit the boards hard, Gorges showed no ill-effects of the hit and continued making his regular shifts. For his troubles, Scott Thornton earned two minutes for tripping…
Bell – Thornton – Pavelski
Michalek – Marleau – Bernier
Rissmiller – Goc – Grier
Brown – Cheechoo
Murray – Carle
Hannan – Ehrhoff
Vlasic – Gorges
Nabokov – Toskala
WHAT’S ON YOUR WISH LIST?
Sharks fans! Have you ever wished you could ride the zamboni at a Sharks game or sit in the penalty box during warm ups? If so, visit the Sharks Foundation Holiday “Wish List” Auction on Dec. 16 vs. Anaheim. Fans can bid on some of the most-frequently requested and sought-after items, including a zamboni ride at a future sharks game, a limited edition neon Bud Light Sharks Territory Sign, an autographed life-size cutout of Jonathan Cheechoo and more! The auction will occur at the Foundation booth outside Section 124 on the concourse and net proceeds will benefit the 2006-07 beneficiaries. For more information on this and other Sharks Foundation events, please visit www.TheSharksFoundation.org
The Sharks return home after their day trip to Los Angeles to play the back end of their home-and-home with the Kings. The two teams will meet again on Thursday night with game time set for 7:30 PM. The game will be broadcast on FSN Bay Area, KFOX 98.5 FM, Sharks Radio Network Affiliates and SJSHARKS.com.