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Sharks earn a point on Marleau's heroics
SJ falls in the shootout after big comeback
3/24/11 - By Mike Lee -

Patrick Marleau isn't the Sharks captain anymore, but he's assumed the role of Captain Comeback this season. His clutch scoring helped the Sharks tie the Los Angeles Kings with 3:32 left in regulation and then again with 3.2 seconds left to extend the game to overtime on Thursday night. Marleau's heroics were overshadowed by the fact that the Sharks were forced to tie the game a second time after giving up a power play goal late. Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick stopped four of five shooters in the shootout to help Los Angeles salvage the win.

San Jose's resiliency was impressive late, but the Sharks two biggest weaknesses were exposed by Los Angeles. San Jose can't seem to stop anyone on the penalty kill and shootouts are not the Sharks friend. The shootout gets thrown out during the playoffs, but effective special teams is one of the most important aspects of a successful run in the second season. San Jose still has lots of work to do to shore up their penalty-kill.

Dustin Brown scored two power play goals on Thursday night, including a goal that put the Kings up with 1:42 left in regulation. San Jose entered the game ranked 23rd in the league on the power play, but they would slip another spot after dropping under 80% penalty killing efficiency.

The Kings controlled the shot counter in the opening period, due in part to their dominance in the faceoff circle. Los Angeles won 12 of 21 draws in the opening period. It was San Jose however who had the better scoring chances.

Ryane Clowe missed on a nice opportunity near the 13 minute mark, when a pin-balling puck found its way to the Shark forward's stick. With Kings netminder Jonathan Quick sprawled out in front of the net, Clowe tried to lift his shot but ended up bouncing off a defender out front.

Marleau had a wrap-around chance with 2:30 left in the period, but Quick got a pad down to deny the shot.

A slashing penalty to Jarret Stoll with 27 seconds left in the period carried over to the 2nd period. The Kings had killed 35 straight penalties leading up to the Stoll infraction, but the Sharks ended that streak 35 seconds into the middle period.

Joe Pavelski converted with his 17th goal of the season, deflecting a Marleau feed past Quick to give the Sharks the 1-0 lead. Pavelski was situated to the left of the slot, but he got his stick on the Marleau feed, chipping it over Quick's right shoulder and into the Kings net.

Jamal Mayers would give the Kings a chance to equalize after taking a holding the stick penalty at 5:40. The Sharks Achilles heel was exposed for Dustin Brown, who punched a shot home from just outside the left post with 20 seconds left in the penalty.

Energized by the Brown goal, the Kings began to buzz the Sharks net, turning up the heat on Niemi. Defenseman Willie Mitchell put the Kings on top less than two minutes later with a shot from the high slot that caught the upper right corner of the net.

San Jose went almost 13 minutes between shots, failing to apply any pressure to Quick or the Kings defense.

Clowe took an undisciplined roughing penalty with 5:20 left in the penalty after Dany Heatley took an extra swipe at Alec Martinez. Clowe swooped in and took a swipe at Martinez to earn a two minute trip to the penalty box.

The Sharks found themselves on a 2-on-1 during the penalty-kill, but Joe Thornton's indecisiveness with the puck allowed Martinez to check him off the puck before the Sharks captain could get a shot off.

Clowe was sent off moments later for holding putting the Kings back on the power play for the remainder of the period. San Jose killed the infraction, but it took away any opportunity to try and score the equalizer.

The Sharks were out-shot 14-4 in what may have been one of the worst periods of the season.

Alexei Ponikarovsky was sent off for tripping Dan Boyle 51 seconds into the 3rd period, but a disjointed power play kept the Sharks from even generating a single shot on net during the man-advantage.

San Jose went back on the power play seven minutes later after Martinez hauled Torrey Mitchell down while the Sharks were starting to put something together in the Kings zone. Pavelski had a wide open net to shoot on, but Quick stoned the Sharks forward with a nice kick save.

With the urgency of the clock weighing on them, the Sharks turned up the pressure and somehow found a way to tie the game up with 3:32 left in regulation. Marleau took a Demers feed up the left side and rifled a shot past Quick for his 32nd goal of the season.

The jubilation of the late comeback was short-lived when Thornton took a lazy penalty deep in the Los Angeles zone, putting the Kings back on the power play.

Brown worked his magic again, pumping a 20-foot shot through Niemi's five-hole after Michal Handzus sent a pass to the Kings captain from the right corner with 92 seconds left in regulation.

Marleau saved the Sharks bacon with his heart-stopping goal late. Logan Couture setup the goal with a shot attempt from the left side that Quick stopped, but the rebound kicked out to the right side of the net, where Johnny-on-the-spot was there to flip it home and send the game to overtime.

In the extra frame, Dan Boyle had a shot attempt disintegrate on him when his stick broke, setting up a Kings 3-on-1. Los Angeles would botch the entry, allowing the Sharks to get back. Anze Kopitar would still manage to get a shot on net, but Niemi gloved it to keep the game going.

In the shootout Handzus missed low to the stick side. Boyle waited out Quick with a delayed entry, lifting the shot over the fallen goaltender. The Kings argued that Quick hit the puck with a poke check, but replays showed that he missed it. Stoll countered with a snap that that sailed over Niemi's right shoulder. Quick stuffed Couture's jam shot from the left side.

Kopitar missed with a weak deek move to the right. Clowe went to the forehand, but Quick got the pad over to deny the Sharks forward. Niemi denied Dustin Penner's five-hole try. Pavelski tried to go low to the stick side, but Quick made the kick save. Brown scored with a wrister to the glove side. Marleau flubbed his chance, mis-handling the puck on his approach to end it.



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Scoring
1 2 3 OT SO T
SJ 0 1 2 0 0 3
LA 0 2 1 0 1 4
1st period - None.
2nd period - 1, SJ, Pavelski 17 (Marleau, Thornton), 0:35, (pp). 2, LA, Brown 24 (Ponikarovsky, Martinez), 7:18, (pp). 3, LA, Mitchell 4 (Moller, Smyth), 9:07.
3rd period - 4, SJ, Marleau 32 (Demers), 16:28. 5, LA, Brown 25 (Handzus, Martinez), 18:28, (pp). 6, SJ, Marleau 33 (Clowe, Couture), 19:56.
Overtime - None.
Shootout - LA: Handzus (miss), Stoll (goal), Kopitar (miss), Penner (miss), Brown (goal). SJ: Boyle (goal), Couture (miss), Clowe (miss), Pavelski (miss), Marleau (miss).
Penalties
1st period - White, SJ (interference), 5:35; Stoll, LA (slashing), 19:33.
2nd period - Mayers, SJ (holding the stick), 5:40; Clowe, SJ (roughing), 14:40; Clowe, SJ (holding), 17:49.
3rd period - Ponikarovsky, LA (tripping), 0:51; Martinez, LA (tripping), 8:01; Thornton, SJ (interference), 17:05.
Overtime - None.
Goaltending
Shots Saves
SJ - Niemi 38 35
LA - Quick 28 25
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 OT T
SJ 9 4 13 2 28
LA 13 14 7 4 38
Power Play Conversion
SJ 1 of 3
LA 2 of 5
3 Stars of the Game
Dustin Brown
Patrick Marleau
Jonathan Quick
Attendence
18,118
Officials
Referees: Kimmerly, Watson. Linesmen: Henderson, Sharrers.
Holiday Gifts at BustedTees

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