Depth scoring opened up an early lead for the San Jose Sharks Friday afternoon, who never looked back in a 4-1 win over the Los Angeles Kings.
The second Sharks (14-12-1) win over the Kings (10-14-2) this week had a little bit of everything: scoring by the veterans, solid goaltending, and a first NHL goal for rookie forward Noah Gregor. Head coach Pete DeBoer said:
“After last game we really wanted to come out and fix some things and getting the first goal was important … I thought we created a lot of opportunities for ourselves and it was a nice bounceback game.”
While on a breakaway, Marcus Sorensen drew a hooking penalty. The Sharks power play, which went 0-for-6 on Wednesday, had a chance to open the scoring.
The Sharks did not score with the man advantage, though they gained the momentum to open the scoring just nine seconds after the power play expired. Joe Thornton made a quick pass to Sorensen, who sent it cross-ice to Patrick Marleau at the backdoor for an easy tap-in goal. The Sharks led 1-0 with 12:34 remaining in the first period. Marleau said:
“It was a great play by Jumbo and then Sorensen to find me back door there, I just had to put it in the empty net.”
After Marleau received a hooking penalty halfway through the first period, San Jose’s No. 1 penalty killing unit shut down the Kings.
Marleau had a breakaway opportunity out of the box, drawing a delayed penalty as the Sharks maintained possession. With an extra skater on the ice, the Sharks kept possession in the offensive zone for nearly a minute, leading to Marc-Edouard Vlasic scoring off a shot from the point. Vlasic’s fourth goal of the season, assisted by Erik Karlsson and Timo Meier, came with 6:46 left in the period.
At the end of the first period, the Kings lead 8-4 in shots, but the Sharks had the 2-0 lead. Thornton said:
“Last game we didn’t have a very good game and we addressed that yesterday. So to come out here and get two quick ones was huge and we followed up in the second period to get two more.”
After the Sharks were penned into their own zone to start the second period, a stretch pass by Brenden Dillon was chased down by Noah Gregor, who beat Quick glove side on a wrist shot to score his first NHL goal. Jones also earned an assist on the goal to make it a 3-0 lead just three minutes into the second period. Gregor said:
“It felt awesome. I think this is game 11, so it took a little bit, but it was awesome to see the puck go in for the first time.”
The Sharks extended their lead again when Evander Kane won an offensive zone faceoff back to Erik Karlsson. Karlsson’s shot from the point was tipped towards the net by Barclay Goodrow, then deflected again by Logan Couture past Quick. Couture’s sixth goal of the season extended the San Jose lead to 4-0 with 5:13 left in the second period.
The Sharks received two more power play opportunities in the third period but could not score on either of them. San Jose is now 0-16 on the power play through the last six games.
San Jose’s shutout bid was lost when Kyle Clifford’s shot from the point made it past Jones, cutting the Sharks lead to 4-1 with 1:49 left in the game.
With the win, the Sharks are now above the .500 mark and are third place in the Pacific Division. Marleau said:
“We know they’re big points. Having to fight back like we did and knowing how important important these games are to keep moving up to be in the playoff picture is one of the things we’ve talked about.”
The Sharks visit the Coyotes tomorrow in Arizona at 5 p.m.
Marleau scored his 557th career goal and is now No. 27 on the NHL’s all-time goals list. Thornton said:
“Some of those names around Patty’s name is just incredible. So it’s going to be fun watching him catch some more guys.”
This was Tomas Hertl’s first appearance after an injury caused him to miss four games. He centered the second line with Meier and Marleau but exited the game halfway through the third period. DeBoer said it was precautionary and that Hertl will travel to Arizona.