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Sharks go to work in SoCal
San Jose wins season series with Kings 3-2
1/18/17 - By Mike Lee -

Winning division games are always important, but they're always sweeter when they come against the Los Angeles Kings. The Sharks 3-2 win at Staples Center on Wednesday night gave the Sharks the edge in the season series 3-2, but more importantly. it helped them keep pace with the contenders in the Pacific Division. San Jose sits three points out of the division lead, and they have two teams ahead of them. The 4-point game also staked the Sharks to an 8 point lead over the Kings, who sit in the final a playoff spot in the Western Conference.

Wednesday night's game was an overnight business trip for the Sharks, who were all business. Playing short with a rash of injury and illness, the Sharks had to focus their offense.

With Joonas Donskoi moved to the disabled list on Tuesday and Logan Couture on the shelf with an illness, San Jose leaned on their lineup top to bottom. Those healthy enough to play did their job, grabbing control of the game early, and buckling down defensively.

Brent Burns opened the game's scoring 3:31 into the game after Joe Thornton worked his magic with the puck. Thornton controlled the puck behind the Kings goal and fought off a defender as he skated it back up the left wing boards before dropping a pass to Burns on the left point. The Sharks defenseman ripped a shot that deflected in front of Petr Budaj for his 19th goal of the season.

Tanner Pearson tied the game 2 minutes later by tipping a Derek Forbort shot from the left side. Pearson was loitering at the top of the left post and got a stick up high to redirect Forbort's shot for his 14th goal of the season.

San Jose took control of the game in the 2nd half of that 1st period. The Sharks 4th line cashed in to give San Jose the lead on a blue collar goal. Micheal Haley flashed some Thorntonesque skills by skating the puck up the left wing, then send a saucer pass over Jake Muzzin's stick to Tommy Wingels on the off wing. Wingels gathere dthe pass and lifted a shot past Budaj for the 2-1 lead.

Jeff Carter put the Sharks on one of four power play chances midway through the 2nd period. Thornton tried to work a deflection in front of Budaj, but the puck kicked wide right of the net. A big rebound off the end boards landed on Joe Pavelski's stick. The Sharks captain gathered the fortuitous rebound and lifted a shot past Budaj from the endline outside the right post.

The Kings cut into the Sharks lead with 4:41 left in the period on a broken play. Marion Gaborik was the benefactor of a shot attempt that slipped behind Martin Jones. Kyle Clifford tried to get a shot off after gaining the puck on the right side of the slot, but his spinning attempt rolled off his stick and through the skates of two Shark defenders to Gaborik who snuck past everyone on the left side for the deposit.

The penalty bug bit both teams later in the period. San Jose had a would be 4-minute power play reduced to the 2-minute variety after Melker Karlsson was called for a phantom hold. The Sharks forward was clipped by a Trevor Lewis high stick that drew blood. Patrick Marleau would be called for an illegal check to Dwight King's head on what can only be described as questionable.

If the Kings had any real plans to comeback in the 3rd period, the Sharks squashed that notion by limiting Los Angeles to 5 shots in the period. Two of those came on a sequence with 9 minutes to play that ended with King pumping a rebound on goal that should have found twine, but Jones made one of his best saves of the year by kicking out his right pad to deny the scoring chance.

Game Notes:

* Micheal played like a man possessed. On top of the assist he earned on Tommy Wingels goal, Haley was all over the ice, and was ready to drop the gloves with Kyle Clifford, but the linesmen broke them up and assess delay of game penalties.

* Mikkel Boedker missed on a breakaway chance in the 3rd period that was simply a head scratcher. Rather than taking the puck to the net, Boedker elected to shoot from 25 feet out and missed the net by 6 feet.

* Marc-Edouard Vlasic led all skaters with 4 shots on goal. Every Sharks forward recorded a shot on goal except for Boedker and Kevin Labnc.

* Vlasic also recorded team low -2.


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1 2 3 T
SJ 2 1 0 3
LA 1 1 0 2
1st period - 1, SJ, Burns 19 (Thornton, Karlsson), 3:31. 2, LA, Pearson 14 (Forbort, Brown), 5:46. 3, SJ, Wingels 5 (Haley), 15:42.
2nd period - 4, SJ, Pavelski 16 (Ward, Thornton), 10:00, (pp). 5, LA, Gaborik 4 (Clifford, Brown), 15:19.
3rd period - None.
1st period - Gaborik, LA (hooking), 6:41; Braun, SJ (holding), 9:42.
2nd period - Carpenter, SJ (interference), 3:10; Carter, L A(high sticking), 9:51; Wingels. SJ (tripping), 10:48; Karlsson, SJ (holding), 13:06; CLifford, LA (high sticking - double minor), 13:06; Haley, SJ (delay of game), 15:35; Clifford, LA (delay of game), 15:35; Setoguchi, LA (hooking), 17:56; Marleau. SJ (illegal check to head), 19:35.
3rd period - None.
Shots Saves
SJ - Jones 24 22
LA - Budaj 27 24
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
SJ 9 12 6 27
LA 7 12 5 24
Power Play Conversion
SJ 1 of 4
LA 0 of 4
3 Stars of the Game
Joe Thornton
Dustin Brown
Joe Pavelski
Staples Center - 18,230
Referees: Hebert, Dwyer. Linesmen: Murphy, Heyer.
Holiday Gifts at BustedTees

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