Sharks Beat Kings In Shootout But Remain In Fifth


Apr 16, 2013; San Jose, CA, USA; San Jose Sharks defenseman Brent Burns (88) and Los Angeles Kings defenseman Drew Doughty (8) collide during the second period at HP Pavilion. Mandatory Credit: Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

The San Jose Sharks (23-13-7) defeated the Los Angeles Kings (24-14-5) 3-2 in the shootout bringing both teams into a tie with 53 points each.  The Kings remain in fourth, however, because they own the tiebreaker.

These two teams play each other one more time for the last game of the season and that could very well determine who gets home-ice advantage if these two meet in the playoffs.

This game was chippy and hard-hitting from the start.  It was an entertaining game to watch, and if this is a preview of a possible first round matchup between these two teams neither might make it out alive if they went seven games.  Overall the Kings dominated in the hitting category (as expected because they are one of the top teams in the league at that) 37-21 but the Sharks held their own.

One of the keys for the Kings was how well they exectued on the penalty kill and pretty much nullified any chances by the San Jose power play.  They looked like a well-oiled machine and no matter what the Sharks threw at them would not be scored on.

Similar to last night scoring did not pick up until the second period, but it did so in a major way with all four goals occurring in the middle frame.

The first goal of the game was scored by Brent Burns after he fired a wrist-shot by Jonathan Quick.  The opportunity was created by a great forecheck that gave Burns the chance to steal the puck off a Kings player’s stick on the half-boards.  Right after the steal he fired the puck top-shelp and put San Jose up 1-0.

Less than a minute later the Sharks struck again after more great forechecking.  T.J. Galiardi did the dirty work and was all over the ice before he put the puck behind Quick for the quick two goal Sharks lead.  It was a great feed across the crease by Burns to Galiardi that made the difference.

Later on in the period the Kings got a chance to get back in the game when they found themselves on a 1 minute 15 second two-man advantage.  The Sharks were able to weather the hard part but once it became a regular five on four power play could not keep the Kings off the board.  It was Jake Muzzin who scored on a slapshot from the point through what was a double screen.  Antti Niemi really had no chance to see the puck and the score became 2-1 Sharks.

Then, with a little over a minute left in the period, the Kings tied the game.  Captain Dustin Brown banged home a loose puck that Niemi was trying to cover up after he made the initial save on a two-on-one chance.  The goal may not have happened if Patrick Marleau hustled on the back-check. Instead he decided to coast into a defensive position and that made all the difference.  I know he was at the tail-end of a long shift, but on a play like that you have get empty the tank and get back on defense.

The third period was a back and forth affair with the Kings owning a majority of the chances though San Jose had plenty of their own.  The Sharks got a chance to take the lead on the power play but were held to pretty much no good chances like their previous attempts due to L.A. being stellar on the penalty kill all game.

The one guy who you felt would score in the third for San Jose, Galiardi, had all kinds of chances but could not put it away.  Thus, the game needed extra time to be decided.

The game would eventually go on to yet another shootout for the Sharks.  On the positive side they earned yet another point, but that also means the Kings got one as well meaning they would not be gaining fifth place this evening.

In the shootout it was none other than Raffi Torres who scored the lone goal to give the Sharks the 2-1 victory.  Niemi was stellar once again stopping all three shots in the shootout and 41 overall to earn his NHL-leading 22nd win of the season.

GGS 3 Stars
1. Antti Niemi (43 saves)
2. Jonathan Quick (33 saves)
3. Brent Burns (1 goal, 1 assist, 3 hits)