Game 27: Kings Win 5-2, improve to 15-10-2
LOS ANGELES – Thursday, San Jose made the most of their home-ice advantage. Tonight, it was Los Angeles‘ turn as the Kings won in front of their hometown fans putting a halt to their mini two-game losing streak. The Kings not only won but they made a statement showing the Sharksthat they don’t react well to losing – and it showed.
Whoever missed Kyle Clifford‘s early-season production certainly got lucky tonight (no, not THAT kind of lucky) as the Big Red Dog opened the scoring with his third of the year to get the home team on the board first just 2:27 into the game. Just under 10 minutes later, Los Angeles struck again as Justin Williams picked up his fourth of the year extending the lead to two and that’s how it stood heading into the first intermission.
Just 35 seconds into the middle frame, however, a streaking Patrick Marleau potted it to pull the Sharks to within a goal. From there, it seemed as if the Sharks were gaining momentum and they came close a few times especially on a penalty shot by Tommy Wingels, who was awarded the shot after rookie Tyler Toffoli slashed his stick so hard that he broke it. Nevertheless, Wingels could have tied but Jonathan Bernier stoned him and just moments later, Jarret Stoll scored to regain the two-goal King lead. San Jose was pressing and it seemed as if they would tie and who knows what else but Stoll’s tally was a turning point as the Sharks could barely get anything going since.
Just two-and-a-half minutes after the Stoll goal, Dustin Penner found himself on a breakaway but was stopped by Antti Niemi. The puck, however, was loose and that’s when Kyle Clifford rushed in and knocked home the loose puck for his second of the night and his first-career multi-goal game. That spelled the end of Niemi’s night as the Staples Center faithful began singing the Finnish netminder off the ice with the classic “Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye“.
Alex Stalock came on to relieve Niemi but allowed a goal to Dwight King who potted his second on the year just before the end of the second. The home team not only entered the second intermission with a 5-1 lead but 12 different Kings found their names on the scoresheet and three of them had multi-point efforts. In addition to Clifford who had his pair of goals, Jarret Stoll added an assist to his goal and Trevor Lewis chipped in with a pair of helpers.
It was a relatively quiet third period that saw the only three penalties of the game called not counting the fight between Clifford and Douglas Murray in the second. The Sharks did score a late power play goal to cut the lead to three but that was all they could muster as the Los Angeles Kings, backed by a 20-save performance by Jonathan Bernier, picked up two very important points and improve their record against division opponents to 3-4-0 on the year.
They will have a chance to improve on that mark immediately as the Kings next host the Phoenix Coyotes on Monday and Tuesday night. Let’s hope for a similar effort then.