SAN JOSE – A story line had taken place prior to this game even starting. The home team had won 15 of the prior 16 (10 by one goal) between these two teams, the San Jose Sharks, and the Los Angeles Kings. The Kings were in a scoring draught, including being blanked in front of 54,000 plus at Dodger Stadium just nights prior. The Sharks were on a six game win streak, while the Kings were on a four game losing streak. It was a night set for the Sharks to dominate.
There was also bad blood in the air from the last time these two teams met, when Dustin Brown put a hault to rookie sensation, Tomas Hertl‘s amazing season following an incidental knee-to-knee check.
Although the bad blood was kept at bay over the game, it was a physical, defensive match with many checks being followed through, and many blocked shots.
“We knew they always come out hard, you have to weather the storm first.”
Anze Kopitar established how the Kings viewed the Sharks early game plan, and matched their play throughout the game.
The Sharks did come out hard, pressuring Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick early. This included a chance for Bracken Kearns who had Quick beat at the net, but couldn’t lift the puck high enough, and Quick made a sprawled out save from his stomach.
Quick was not done for the night though, finishing the night with 23 saves on 23 shots, sealing his 28th career NHL shutout.
The Kings and Anze Kopitar ended a pair of scoreless streaks early in the third. On a two-on-two break, Jeff Carter placed a pass through the stick of two Sharks defenders to find Anze Kopitar, who with patience, waited and stick handled around Sharks netminder, Alex Stalock, for the lone goal of the night.
The goal ended the Kings scoreless drought of 154:43 minutes of ice time, and also ended Stalock’s 178:55 minute streak of not allowing a goal. Stalock’s mark was a franchise record.
Stalock did catch a few breaks as four shots rang off the post (one on an empty net), but despite that, he saved 20 of the 21 shots he faced.
Jonathan Quick sealed the win for the Kings with a kick save as the final buzzer rang in San Jose, giving the Kings a 1-0 win. This win snapped a four game losing streak for the Kings, and snapped a six game win streak for the Sharks.
I think Joe Pavelski put it best with the simple quote, “California hockey has been great lately.”
Final from HP Pavilion in San Jose, California:
Kings, 1 Sharks, 0
Three Stars of the Game:
1. Jonathan Quick, LAK
2. Alex Stalock, SJS
3. Anze Kopitar
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