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Kings extend Sharks woes
LA rebound from opening night loss
10/22/15 - By Mike Lee -

It's deja vu all over again in San Jose. Or Ground Hog Day. Whatever you want to call it, it smells the same. Like last years hot start, the Sharks ripped off 4 straight win, and followed that up with their 3rd straight loss on Thursday night. All the opening night hoopla they had against the Los Angeles Kings seemed to get thrown out with the Sharks momentum as San Jose played another lackluster game that ended with a 4-1 defeat.

The Sharks were flat from the drop of the puck and things got worse from there. Logan Couture's absence was magnified by the fact that his team is 0-3 without him. Rather than seizing the opportunity, none of the players recalled to backfill the hole created by Couture have stepped up. The Sharks played a lifeless game that had the home fans booing by the middle of the 2nd period. And it's only the 2nd home game of the season!

After flubbing things out of the gate, the Kings have rebounded and pounced on a team they seem to own psychologically.

It took half the opening period, but Los Angeles lulled the Sharks into a trance then proceeded to bury San Jose. Tyler Toffoli staked the Kings to a 1-0 lead at 11:37 of that opening period, by using a little stick handling magic. Los Angeles chipped the puck up ice before Toffoli scooped it up at the blueline and went backhand-forehand-backhand to work the puck around Sharks goaltender Martin Jones. Brenden Dillon's indecisiveness on who to cover left Jones dangling to defend against Toffoli and a potential backdoor chance.

The Sharks looked poised to get out of the period down a goal, but penalties and flat penalty kill changed those plans.

Tommy Wingels took a penalty late in the period to setup the Kings first power play of the evening. Former Sharks defenseman Chritian Ehrhoff threw a puck on net from the blueline. Milan Lucic tipped Ehrhoff's shot past Jones with 27.2 seconds left in the frame.

Rather than respond to open the 2nd period, the defensive coverage went south, allowing the Kings to add a 3rd goal at 3:46 of the middle frame. After assisting on the game's first two goals, Jeff Carter raced up ice on a 2-on-1 break that ended with a wrist shot that beat Jones through the 5-hole.

Sharks head coach used his challenge to question Carter's goal, but replays showed that Lucic was onside as Carter raced up ice on his right. By virtue of the failed challenge, the Sharks lost their timeout.

Joel Ward scored the Sharks only goal at 15:06 of the period by depositing a shot from 10 feet out. Joe Pavelski raced around the back of the net, and slid a pass out to the slot where Ward evaded defenseman Brayden McNabb.

Joe Thornton confused everyone in the building late in the period when he fell awkwardly in the right corner as the Sharks tried pressing in the Kings zone. Thornton tried to get up, but he wobbled twice before gaining his feet. It appeared as if Thornton was having an issue with his skate, but it turned out that the Sharks centerman hit his head on the ice when he fell. Having rung his bell, Thornton was actually dazed as he tried to get back to the Sharks bench.

Thornton would return later in the 3rd period after passing the league's concussion protocol.

The training staff should applied that test to the Sharks special teams unit, which failed to capitalize on five power play chances throughout the evening. They also gave up a pair of power play goals.

Mike Brown setup the Kings second power play goal by taking an interference penalty at 9:33 of the 3rd period. Carter recorded his 4th point of the evening by bouncing a shot off the end boards that caromed back to the crease where it hit Jones before rolling across the goal line.

Game Notes:

The Sharks recalled Bryan Lerg before the game. Lerg was reassigned back to the Barracuda days earlier.

San Jose held their first Alumni Night, bringing former forward Scott Thornton back to help celebrate the team's 25th anniversary in the South Bay.

The Sharks power play unit slipped to 22nd in the league with their 12.5% efficiency. The penalty kill also continued to slide, falling to 20th in the league (80.0%).


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1 2 3 T
LA 2 1 1 4
SJ 0 1 0 1
1st period - 1, LA, Toffoli 1 (Muzzin, Carter), 11:37. 2, LA, Lucic 1 (Ehrhoff, Carter), 19:32, (pp).
2nd period - 3, LA, Carter 1 (Doughty), 3:46. 4, SJ, Ward 2 (Pavelski, Dillon), 15:06.
3rd period - 5, LA, Carter 2 (unassisted), 9:36, (pp).
1st period - Nolan, LA (roughing), 12:15; Lucic, LA (roughing), 16:12; Wingels, SJ (hooking), 18:30.
2nd period - Bench, SJ (too many men), 5:53; Wingels, SJ (hooking), 12:29; Martinez, LA (tripping), 12:56; McBain, LA (interference), 16:42; McNabb, LA (cross checking), 18:09.
3rd period - Brown, SJ (interference), 9:33; Brown, LA (slashing), 11:15; Thornton, SJ (slashing), 11:15.
Shots Saves
LA - Enroth 30 29
SJ - Jones 19 16
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
LA 8 11 10 29
SJ 18 12 10 40
Power Play Conversion
LA 2 of 4
SJ 0 of 5
3 Stars of the Game
Jeff Carter
Jhonas Enroth
Tyler Toffoli
Referees: O'Halloran, L'Ecuyer. Linesmen: Gibbs, Henderson.
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