The San Jose Sharks dominated the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday night, posting a season-high seven goals en route to a 7-3 victory over their Division rivals. Over the past few seasons the Sharks have enjoyed success against the Kings. Heading into Thursday night’s game, the Sharks had posted a 15-3-1-1 record against Los Angeles in the last 20 meetings between the two.
to view video highlights from tonight's game.
Due to the solid play by both goaltenders, Head Coach Ron Wilson continued rotating the two calling on Vesa Toskala to man the nets for his team on Thursday. Opposite Toskala was Kings goaltender Mathieu Garon.
The game opened with each team attempting to establish their forecheck and inflict their style of play on each other. From the outset, it was clear that there was no love lost between the two squads.
It was Los Angeles that would earn the early advantage, drawing an interference penalty on Kyle McLaren six and a half minutes into the game. On the ensuing man advantage, the Sharks penalty kill contained the Kings power play with relative ease, but just 18 seconds after the two teams returned to even strength, former Shark Scott Thornton made a sensational play moving in on Toskala and forcing the puck to the net. The puck was put home by Brian Willsie giving the Kings the early 1-0 lead.
The Sharks would answer however with two inspired shifts after the Kings goal. On the second shift after the Kings goal, the Sharks drew a tripping call on Garon, and the best power play in the League went to work. After sustained pressure in the Kings zone, Captain Patrick Marleau
would knot the game at 1-1 taking a feed from linemates Steve Bernier and Milan Michalek and beating Garon.
The Sharks would take the lead for the first time in the game two and a half minutes later as Bernier got into the act, taking a feed from Michalek and making it a 2-1 game.
Frustrated with their quick change of fortune, on the subsequent faceoff Kings right wing Tim Jackman challenged Sharks left wing Ryane Clowe
and the two dropped the gloves. Each player got their punches in, but Clowe won the decision with a flurry of uppercuts sending the challenger Jackman to the ice.
While it appeared that Jackman was attempting to inspire his team by dropping the gloves, it was the Sharks that gained the momentum after Clowe’s victory in the bout. It took the Sharks just over two minutes to respond to the Kings challenge as Christian Ehrhoff joined in on the scoring.
Taking a feed from Patrick Rissmiller, Ehrhoff ripped a well placed shot past Garon who had little chance on the play. The goal was Ehrhoff’s fifth on the season, best amongst defensemen on the team, giving the Sharks the 3-1 lead.
Just 16 short seconds after Ehrhoff made it 3-1 in favor of the Sharks, Jonathan Cheechoo scored the fourth unanswered goal by the Sharks in only five minutes and 14 seconds. Rissmiller earned the primary assist on the play for the second time in 16 seconds and the Sharks took a commanding lead into the locker room after one period of play.
Less than two minutes into the second period, Mike Grier was called for interference on Kings forward Tom Kostopoulos to the right of goaltender Mathieu Garon in the Kings end.
The Kings went on their second power play of the game and the Sharks successful penalty killing streak ended at 15.
At 3:38, Sean Avery passed the puck from the right corner to Kevin Dallman on the right point. Dallman fired a shot from the right point that bounced off Vesa Toskala’s pads. Alexander Frolov was right in front to one-time the rebound. Frolov’s sixth goal cut the Sharks lead to 4-2.
Nearly three minutes later, the Kings went back on the power play for the third time as Michalek was called for holding Rob Blake behind the Kings net. But the Sharks were able to stop the Kings.
The Sharks regained their three-goal lead at 10:15. Michalek got the puck behind the Kings net. He proceeded to backhand the puck off the left side of the net. The carom found its way to Marleau in the slot and he put it past Garon. Marleau’s goal was his ninth of the season and second of the game. Michalek had his third assist of the night as San Jose took a 5-2 lead.
Almost on cue, Marleau completed the hat trick with two minutes remaining in the second. Cheechoo fought for the puck in front of the Kings net along with three Kings defenders. Cheechoo was able to loosen the puck and kick it towards the slot. Marleau skated towards the puck and snapped it past Garon.
The hat trick was Marleau’s second in regular season play. His first regular season hat trick came on April 6, 2002 against Detroit. The unassisted goal was his 10th of the season and gave the Sharks a 6-2 lead. After the first 40 minutes, the Kings were outshooting the Sharks, 24-18, including 13-5 in the second period.
Although the Kings were down by four, they kept coming after the Sharks. At 3:30 of the third period, Mark Smith had a hard time handling a long pass to him at the Kings blue line. The loose puck was picked up by Avery, who came down the left wing and put a snap shot under Toskala’s glove.
Lubomir Visnovsky and Kostopoulos picked up the assists on Avery’s fifth goal of the season, which cut the Sharks lead to 6-3.
However, the Sharks kept their momentum going as well. At 10:45 of the third, Cheechoo scored his second goal of the game, seventh of the season and his 100th as a Shark. Scott Hannan’s shot from the left point rebounded off Garon. Cheechoo got the puck on his backhand and put it past three Kings standing in the slot. Rissmiller recorded his third assist of the night on Cheechoo’s goal, which gave San Jose a 7-3 lead.
San Jose got another power play opportunity at 17:21 when Blake was called for interference. And that was the last entry on the scoresheet for the night. San Jose was outshot by Los Angeles in the third period, 14-8, and 38-26 for the game, but Toskala was up to the challenge en route to making 35 saves on the night.
The win continued San Jose’s dominance over their Southern California foes as the Sharks are now 7-2-2 in their last 11 games. The teams meet again on Monday night at Staples Center…Marleau’s hat trick was the second for the Sharks in 2006-07 as Cheechoo recorded the first on Oct. 12 at Edmonton.
Michalek and Rissmiller each set career highs with three assists each on the night …The seven goals scored by San Jose is a season high, surpassing the six goals they scored at Vancouver on Oct. 13…Cheechoo is one goal away from tying Mike Ricci (101) for fifth on the Sharks all-time goal scoring list. Cheechoo did become the sixth Shark to score 100…Marleau was the game’s No. 1 star, Michalek was No. 2 and Rissmiller was No. 3…San Jose has now won its last three road games. The streak started after the Sharks lost two straight on their recent five-game East Coast swing.
THEY SAY IT’S YOUR BIRTHDAY
Head Coach Ron Wilson became a grandfather for the first time today announcing that his daughter Kristen had given birth to her first child Riley. Both Riley and his parents are doing fine. Riley, a speedy seven-pound, two-ounce offensive minded defenseman will be eligible for the NHL Entry League Draft in 2024.
Mark Bell was reunited with Joe Thornton
on the Sharks top line while Curtis Brown and Doug Murray each made their return to the lineup.
Bell – Thornton – Grier
Michalek – Marleau – Bernier
Rissmiller – Goc – Cheechoo
Clowe – Brown – Smith
Carle – McLaren
Hannan – Murray
Ehrhoff – Vlasic
Toskala – Nabokov
The Sharks continue on their four-game road swing traveling to Phoenix for a Saturday night match-up with the Coyotes. Game time is set for 6:00 p.m. (Pacific) and will be a radio broadcast only. The game will be featured exclusively on KFOX 98.5 FM, Sharks Radio Network Affiliates and SJSHARKS.com.