Photos by Aris Bernales/SFBay
SAP CENTER — It might be late November, but it was post-season loud at the Tank for the Thanksgiving Eve matchup between the Sharks and the Kings.
The division rivals put on a show that was more than worthy of the raucous atmosphere.
In typical Sharks-Kings fashion, it was a back-and-forth battle that carried into a shootout. But unlike the last time these two teams met up, it was the Sharks who came out on top 3-2.
Head coach Todd McLellan summed up the crazy back-and-forth nature of the game:
“I thought the game took on a whole bunch of different lives throughout the night. It was fast at one point, it was hard at one point along the boards. Both penalty kills were strong, and then even in the shootout it kept going back and forth. A pretty entertaining night…”
“Entertaining” could be understating things, given the constant shift in score, plethora of hard hits, and a tie that took eight rounds in the shootout to break.
Yes, eight rounds.
With team captain Joe Thornton getting the final goal past LA’s backup goaltender Ben Scrivens. A fantastic feat, especially since the captain hadn’t participated in a shootout since 2009:
“(Laughs) I was begging coach to look my way! It was nice to be involved in one.”
The game got started immediately when the puck rebounded off the boards and into position for Jeff Carter’s wrist shot to beat Antti Niemi and put the Kings on the board 1-0 just 18 seconds in.
When asked afterwards about the quick goal by the opposition, Scott Hannan was candid:
“That’s definitely not the way you want to start a game… Give LA credit, they’re a good team. It’s going to be a battle. Every time we play them it’s going to come down to the wire.”
Niemi wasn’t letting anything past him after that, with seven huge saves before the period had expired. San Jose’s offense turned up the heat on their end, putting 18 shots on the net, but were unable to solve Scrivens in the first 20 minutes.
But the backup goalie wouldn’t stay perfect, and despite outshooting the home team 12-7 and getting four minutes of power play time, the Kings couldn’t stop the Sharks from not just tying the game, but taking the lead.
Two minutes into the second stanza, Pavelski found room in the blue paint and lined the puck past Scriven’s glove to tie it up 1-1. Tyler Kennedy and Marty Havlat registered assists on the game-tying goal.
Thornton gave the Sharks the 2-1 lead at the end of the very chippy second frame when he got a piece of Tomas Hertl’s beautiful wrap-around and tipped the puck in such a way that a sprawled-out Scrivens couldn’t stop.
The Sharks caught a bad break at 6:23 in the third stanza as Drew Doughty’s shot ricocheted off Scott Hannan’s skate in front of the crease to tie the game back up 2-2.
A few nasty penalties on LA and a few lazy performances on the power play by San Jose from breaking the tie, forcing the chippy game into — and past — overtime, with shots tied at 40 a piece.
Eight rounds in, Thornton got the winning shot past Scrivens to end the long haul 3-2. Thornton summed up the game’s ending:
Not to anyone’s surprise, since matchups between these teams tend to be determined by one goal and typically extend past the regulated 60 minutes. Thornton explained:
“Down in their building it was a one-goal game. Tonight, another one-goal game. Both teams compete hard against each other, and you knew that it was going to come down to overtime or the shootout and it did.”
The Sharks continue their homestand Friday, November 29 when they host the St. Louis Blues. Puck drop is scheduled for 1 p.m.
Including the playoffs, home teams are 18-0-1 in the last 19 games between the Sharks and Kings. … Tyler Kennedy extended his point streak to four games and registered his 100th career assist on Wednesday. … Joe Thornton extended his point streak to three games. He is now is sole possession of the 50th place on the all-time points list with 1,143… Wednesday night marked Todd McLellan’s 400th game with San Jose.