Days after hanging with the Central-leading Winnipeg Jets at home, the Sharks faltered against the NHL’s worst team.
On the Sharks’ first power play of the game late in the second period, Erik Karlsson fumbled the puck at the blue line and had to take it out of the zone. Then, on the re-entry, his pass went awry for an icing.
The Sharks proceeded to spend the remainder of the man-advantage trying to wrest the puck away from the Kings, who played keep away and managed more scoring chances on the penalty kill as boos rained down from the crowd.
Those final minutes of the second period epitomized a 3-2 overtime loss for the Sharks to the Kings on Saturday afternoon at SAP Center.
Ilya Kovalchuk, playing in his first game in nearly a month, netted the game-winner in overtime on a breakaway, his second goal of the game.
San Jose dropped their last two after a season-long five-game win streak, dampening their first sign of consistency all year.
Trailing by two in the third, the Sharks forced overtime with two third period goals. Lukas Radil deflected in a pass by Timo Meier midway through the third, and Joe Pavelski tipped in a shot by Brent Burns from the point with 30 seconds left in regulation.
“Not our best effort. We kind of knew that early in the game, but we found a way to stick with it. Even though we did not have our legs and our brains completely there we still found a way to battle the whole game and got a point.”
But the listless signs existed from puck drop.
Los Angeles, which entered Saturday with three wins this month, nearly doubled up the Sharks in shots on goal in the first period, taking 10 of the game’s first 11 shots. Kovalchuk gave the Kings the first goal of the game less than five minutes in on a one-time from the left side.
Head coach Pete DeBoer thought his team got what it deserved:
“I thought our execution wasn’t great, I thought our energy was just OK. It was one of those nights. We had an off-night. We found a way to get a point. That was the silver lining.”
The hot start for the Kings denied the Sharks a chance to pin down the visitors early. Los Angeles entered Saturday’s game with a 1-17-3 record when giving up the first goal and a 1-13-1 clip when trailing after one.
The Sharks caught a break midway through the second, when a goal by the Kings’ Oscar Fantenberg was overturned after the Sharks challenged for goaltender’s interference, keeping the deficit at 1-0.
But they didn’t build off it. Instead, at 5:15 of the third, Alex Iafallo buried a one-time slapshot past Martin Jones to give the Kings a 2-0 lead.
“That’s a team, LA, regardless of where they are in the standings, you know you’re going to have to play a man’s game to create offense against them.”
Ultimately, the Sharks didn’t create enough offense. But Pavelski, the captain, was satisfied with forcing overtime. On Thursday, the Sharks outplayed the Jets for stretches, but faltered in regulation. Pavelski said:
“Happy to scrape a point away. Stand here the other night, we play a pretty good game and we get nothing. I think we take this one over the other night.”
The Sharks, will finish a home back-to-back on Sunday when the Arizona Coyotes visit SAP Center before a three-day Christmas break.
Pavelski’s goal marked his 23rd of the season and his fourth game-tying goal in the third period. He has goals in three straight games. … The Sharks are now 0-4 in afternoon games this season. … The Kings led after the first period for just the fifth time this season. … Karlsson, with two assists, has an eight-game assist streak. … Forward Rourke Chartier was reassigned to the Barracuda on Friday, though there were no changes to the Sharks’ lineup Saturday.