Game 26: Kings Lose 4-3, fall to 14-10-
SAN JOSE – They tried for a late rally but just couldn’t get the equalizer as the Los Angeles Kings lose consecutive games for the first time since February 10, falling to the San Jose Sharks by a score of 4-3.
In this their first meeting of the season, the Sharks made the most of their home-ice advantage as they jumped out to a 3-0 lead, chasing Jonathan Quick from the net in the process.
After Brent Burns opened the scoring in the first, defenseman Matt Irwin blistered a power play marker over the right shoulder of Jonathan Quick to make it 2-0. After a Logan Couture point shot made it 3-0 (on another power play tally, mind you), Quick’s night was done as he got pulled after allowing three goals on 12 shots. The goal stemmed from a controversial play that saw Colin Fraser get hit hard by San Jose’s Andrew Desjardins which caused a raucous that resulted in Los Angeles getting the worst of it. In an effort to stick up for his teammate, Jake Muzzin fought with Desjardins but also receive an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty and a game misconduct but not before receiving the all-too-polarizing instigator penalty simply for wearing a visor. Dwight King served the penalties with the end result being a San Jose goal – Couture’s.
Now, while he was screened on the third goal, this is another showing as to why fans are worried about the Conn Smythe winner’s consistency, or lack thereof I should say – but more on that later.
Jonathan Bernier came on in relief and played admirably keeping his team in the game despite the deficit. But the Kings didn’t have to wait very long to give their netminder some support. Just 1:14 after Couture put San Jose up by a field goal, Dustin Brown potted his 10th to put the Kings on the board – and like the previous two, this goal was also of the power play variety.
The Kings went into the second intermission with their heads up but that changed just 27 seconds into the third as a sloppy defensive play saw the Kings surrender the puck in their own zone putting Brent Burns and Couture in on a two-on-one that Bernier had no chance on. Couture’s second of the night regain San Jose’s three-goal lead and that seemed to have done the Kings in – but it wasn’t just yet.
At the 12:48 mark of the third, the captain struck again as Dustin Brown notched his second goal of the night to cut the lead in half. Then, four minutes later, Dwight King jumped on the doorstep and shot his second of the year past a sprawling Antti Niemi to pull the Kings to within a goal and make this game interesting all of a sudden.
Determined to tie, Los Angeles kept pushing for another late tally and despite pulling Bernier, they could not solve Niemi or the Sharks defense as San Jose hung on to win and tie the Kings in the conference standings and in the process, handing their SoCal rivals their second-straight loss.
Having outshot their opponents 37-26, the Kings were once again dominant in said department. Unfortunately, it doesn’t mean a whole lot if they can’t score and it is imperative for the Kings to have better starts. Their effort late was a solid one but it was too little, too late.
The Kings will now have to dust themselves off and prepare for the latter half of this home-and-home series as they prepare to meet the Sharks Saturday night in Los Angeles.