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Kings smother Sharks in 4-1 tilt
Offense suddenly absent in San Jose
12/19/2023 - By Mike Lee

After seemingly turning things around, the Sharks now find themselves having lost 3 straight games, including a lackluster 4-1 loss to the Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday night at SAP Center. The Sharks returned home to face the Kings in the 1st of 4 meetings between the divisional foes this season. The Kings smothered the Sharks offense all night, holding the Sharks to 15 shots in the contest.

It was another step backwards for a team groping in the dark to find its identity. It was a tall order given the Kings road record this season, but it was still a home game that San Jose was simply uncompetitive. They recorded single digit shot counts in all three periods, and were only able to get a puck past Kings prospect goaltender David Rittich with a 2-man advantage in the final 2 minutes of a game that had been long decided.

Rittich was recalled by the Kings after Phoenix Copley was injured on Friday night.

Los Angeles picked the perfect opponent allow their farmhand to cut his teeth on. It was like watching a pod of Killer Whales teaching a pup how to hunt a wounded seal.

The seal didn't put up much of a fight.

Both teams traded quality scoring chances in the first 10 minutes of the game. Phillip Danault missed from the doorstep around the 5 minute mark, but Sharks goaltender Kappo Kahkonen denied him with a kick save. David Rittich matched Kahkonen's leg work by stuffing Mario Ferraro with his own nifty kick save at the midway mark.

a high sticking penalty to Kyle Burroughs setup the game's first goal. Anze Kopitar squeezed a shot between the left post and Kahkonen for the power play goal at 17:46. The Kings had worked the puck to the right side, drawing Kahkonen to cover that side of the net. The shot attempt kicked off the end boards where Arthur Kaliyev collected it and fed Kopitar on the left side.

La threw a one-two punch at the Sharks early in the 2nd period to extended their lead. Trevor Moore whipped a shot from the top of the left circle at 4:07 after the Kings pushed the puck up the right side. Kevin Fiala peeled the puck off the side boards then sent a pass to Moore just as he was crossing the blue line.

Alex Laferriere redirected a Kopitar shot 70 seconds later that squeezed between Kahkonen and the left post. Laperriere had his back to the Sharks net but he was able to get his stick blade out to his right, clipping the puck enough to score by threading the needle through the small space that Kahkonen allowed.

San Jose had a pair of opportunities to fight their way back into the game after Kaliyev and Danault took penalties 3 minutes apart. San Jose would generate a paltry 4 shots during the 4 minutes of man advantage time. The wasted chances were magnified by the lack of any quality chances during the two power play opportunities.

San Jose came within a whisker of scoring early in the 3rd period when a pile up in the crease ended with Mikey Anderson sweeping the puck off the goal line with his glove hand.

The Sharks pulled Kahkonen at 2:47 after Drew Doughty was called for tripping. Skating with the 6-on-4 advantage, the Sharks promptly coughed up the puck when Anthony Duclair's pass attempt was intercepted and Trevor Lewis sent it the length of the rink for his 4th goal of the season.

Jacob MacDonald would convert when the Sharks figured out to retain possession of the puck, but his 5th of the season was too little, tool late.

Game Notes:

* Calen Addison was scratched for what is being described as a lower body issue. Defenseman Jan Rutta was also scratched as he is dealing with an illness.

* Logan Couture told reporters that he will likely participate in full practice on Thursday. Couture has missed all 32 games for San Jose this season as he deals with a lower body issue.

* Jack Studnicka made his SAP Center debut and was limited to 14 shifts, skating on the 4th line with Filip Zadina and Kevin Labanc. Studnicka was one of 7 skaters who were not on the ice for a non-power play goal by the Kings.

* San Jose continues to struggle in the faceoff circle. They were 22-for-52 (42%) on draws. Nico Sturm's absence has really been evident when it comes to draws.

* Jacob MacDonald's late goal prevented the Sharks from being shutout for the 6th time this season.


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1 2 3 T
LA 1 2 1 4
SJ 0 0 1 1
1st period - 1, LA, Kopitar 13 (Kaliyev, Fiala), 17:46, (pp).
2nd period - 2, LA, Moore 15 (Fiala, Danault), 4:07. 3, LA, Laferriere 4 (Kopitar, Spence), 5:17.
3rd period - 4, LA, Lewis 4 (Lizotte), 18:12, (sh), (en). 5, SJ, MacDonald 5 (Labanc, Zadina), 18:40, (pp).
1st period - Burroughs, SJ (high sticking), 16:33.
2nd period - Kaliyev, LA (interference), 9:38; Danault, LA (slashing), 16:56.
3rd period - Kunin, SJ (high sticking), 12:48; Doughty, LA (tripping), 17:13.
Shots Saves
LA - Rittich 16 15
SJ - Khakonen 38 35
SJ - empty net 1 0
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
LA 5 4 7 16
SJ 12 11 16 39
Power Play Conversion
LA 1 of 2
SJ 1 of 3
3 Stars of the Game
Anze Kopitar
Kevin Fiala
Trevor Moore
SAP Center - 11,593
Referees: #17 Frederick L'Ecuyer, #23 Corey Syvret. Linesmen: #86 Jesse Marquis, #58 Ryan Gibbons.

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