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Little fight against playoff bound Kings
Sharks do little against division rival
4/4/2024 - By Mike Lee

If these late season games are an opportunity for guys to audition for spots on the 2024-25 roster, too many Sharks are missing a chance to make a mark. With 8 games left in the season, the Sharks did little to compete against a Los Angeles Kings team that's fighting to retain their spot in the upcoming playoffs. The Kings scored goals 18 second apart in the opening period, and held on to take a 2-1 decision at SAP Center on Thursday night.

Trailing by a pair of goals in the 3rd period, the Sharks would muster a paltry 3 shots against Kings goaltender David Rittich. One of those shots would get past Rittich, but that answer from a team that is learning to play in the NHL while also trying to identify who comes along for the ride just wasn't enough.

The Sharks had the advantage of not playing for the last three days while the Kings were playing on tired legs, having played 24 hours earlier. The Kings had other ideas.

Adrian Kempe scored 10:55 into the game after slipping past Kyle Burroughs at the Sharks blueline and racing up ice before sliding the puck past Mackenzie Blackwood for his 25th of the season.

Los Angeles took all of 18 seconds to put their second goal of the period on the board. Akil Thomas scored his first NHL goal with a shot from just inside the right circle using a teammate as a partial screen. It was only Thomas' 2nd NHL game.

San Jose was awarded a big 4-minute power play when Jordan Spence cut Filip Zadina with a high stick. The Sharks did nothing with the prolonged advantage, generating little in terms of pressure on Rittich.

The Sharks enjoyed a full 6 minutes of power play time in the middle period but would only generate 5 shots on goal in the frame.

Klim Kostin potted his 8th goal of the season and 5th as a Shark with a shot from the right side after San Jose pulled Blackwood for the extra attacker. The goal was Kostin's 9th in 13 games with San Jose. Mikael Granlund setup with the goal with a pass from the high slot, adding to his team high 52 points on the season.

Unfortunately, that would be it for the Sharks in the scoring department. A lack of any competitive offensive chances allowed the Kings to clamp down Sharks.

Game Notes:

* The Sharks announced before the game that they signed centerman Collin Graf to a standard entry level contract. Graf was a top 10 Hobey Baker finalist the last two seasons at Quinnipiac University.

* Luke Kunin and Andreas Englund dropped the gloves in a spirited fight that would end in a draw. Kunin gave up 3 inches to the taller Englund but was up to the task.

* Five Shark skaters would record 2 shots in the game, which were all team highs. They would only generate 16 shots on goal in total.

* The Sharks paltry shot total was not influenced by blocked shots. Los Angeles only blocked 8 shots total in the contest.

* The Kings victory helped them to extend their lead over the St Louis Blues for the final wild card spot to 7 points. The Blues lost to the Nashville Predators on Thursday.


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1 2 3 T
LA 2 0 0 2
SJ 0 0 1 1
1st period - 1, LA, Kempe 25 (unassisted), 10:55. 2, LA, Thomas 1 (Spence, Dubois), 11:13.
2nd period - None.
3rd period - 3, SJ, Kostin 8 (Granlund, Eklund), 18:06.
1st period - Addison, SJ (interference), 19:24.
2nd period - Fiala, LA (interference), 6:19; Englund, SJ (fighting major), 12:32; Kunin, SK (fighting major), 12:32; Spence, LA (high sticking - double minor), 13:59; Kostin, SJ (holding the stick), 19:03.
3rd period - Addison, SJ (hooking), 3:05; Vlasic, SJ (tripping), 14:51.
Shots Saves
LA - Rittich 16 15
SJ - Blackwood 27 25
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
LA 12 4 11 27
SJ 8 5 3 16
Power Play Conversion
LA 0 of 4
SJ 0 of 3
3 Stars of the Game
David Rittich
Adrian Kempe
Klim Kostin
SAP Center - 12,266
Referees: #34 Brandon Schrader, #10 Kyle Rehman. Linesmen: #77 Caleb Apperson, #64 Brandon Gawryletz.

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