Sharks hand first-place Kings a 6-3 setback Monday

San Jose Sharks

SAN JOSE
– Although Los Angeles held onto first place in the Pacific
Division while suffering a 6-3 setback to San Jose Monday at
sold-out HP Pavilion, the Sharks may have served notice on the rest
of the division that they will not give up the crown easily this
winter.
SAN JOSE – Although Los Angeles held onto first place in the Pacific Division while suffering a 6-3 setback to San Jose Monday at sold-out HP Pavilion, the Sharks may have served notice on the rest of the division that they will not give up the crown easily this winter.

San Jose has topped the Western Conference the past two seasons. The Kings, holding a conference-best 24 points, brought a six-game winning streak to the building.

The Kings were 9-0-0 when scoring the first goal entering Monday’s showdown. Los Angeles took a 1-0 lead when Scott Parse was credited with a goal at 16:33 of the first period. Marleau tried to clear a short rebound of a shot by Dustin Brown, but Marleau’s poke at the puck sent it off Parse’s skate and behind goalie Antero Niittymaki.

San Jose responded with two goals in the final two minutes of the first period.

Joe Pavelski’s line pulled the Sharks even. The trio of Pavelski, Logan Couture and Ryane Clowe had combined for nine points in a 4-3 win over Calgary Saturday. Clowe did the honors at the 18:05 mark, taking Pavelski’s pass from the endboards and whipping a 15-footer past goalie Jonathan Bernier for his fourth goal of the year. Couture earned the secondary assist.

Torrey Mitchell recorded his third goal of the year at 19:28 of the first. Jamie McGinn’s slapshot from the blueline left a short rebound in the slot. Mitchell took two swipes at the puck before finding the inside of the left post.

The margin grew to two goals at 10:35 of the second when Scott Nichol turned Derek Joslin’s pass into a turn to the net and wrist shot past Bernier from 15 feet out.

Ryan Smyth scored at 13:35 of the second period for Los Angeles to make it 3-2, even though it took several minutes before that goal was acknowledged. When Smyth jammed the puck inside the right post, the referee did not signal for the goal and play continued. Mitchell broke free and scored at the 5:14 mark, but an off-ice review confirmed Smyth’s goal and wiped out Mitchell’s second goal for the night.

The Kings had killed 22 straight penalties dating back to Oct. 28. San Jose spent little time putting a dent in the Kings’ statistics, scoring goals in nine and seven seconds on their first two power plays of the third period.

Marleau scored his seventh goal of the year, his 100th career power play goal, at 2:39 of the third period. Dan Boyle blasted a shot from the left post that bounded off the endboards to the left post. Dany Heatley jammed the puck toward the net but Bernier’s save left a rebound in the low slot. Marleau, unmarked, snapped the puck into the open net for the 4-2 lead.

Jarret Stoll redirected a shot from the left post by Rob Scuderi at 7:06 to leave the Sharks clinging to a 4-3 edge.

Heatley turned Kent Huskins’ hustle inside the blueline to keep the puck in the Kings zone into an even-strength goal from 20 feet out to give San Jose a 5-3 cushion. Los Angeles had not given up more than four goals in any of 15 games this season.

When Stoll was whistled for tripping at 16:01, the top power play unit of the Sharks needed only seven seconds to wrap up the scoring. Marleau won the face-off and fed Pavelski in the low slot. Pavelski kicked the puck to his side before pulling a shot inside the left post for his fifth goal of the season.

The Sharks begin a two-game road trip Wednesday in Colorado against the Avalanche. After playing in Dallas against the Stars Thursday, San Jose returns home Saturday to face the Columbus Blue Jackets.

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