Sharks earn two points with shootout victory over Kings



SAN JOSEThe Christmas turkey will taste a little bit better on Sunday.

Logan Couture scored in the second period and Ryane Clowe had the only goal in the shootout as the Sharks beat the Los Angeles Kings on Friday night at HP Pavilion, 2-1. It was San Joses fourth straight win, and the sixth consecutive game in which theyve gotten at least one point in the standings (4-0-2).

The Sharks will have two days off this weekend to enjoy the Christmas holiday before hosting the Anaheim Ducks on Monday.

You get a couple days off, the fans go home happy, and we go home happy and well have a good Christmas, said Joe Thornton.

In what was a tight-checking yet very entertaining game between two division rivals, the Sharks held a 1-0 lead until late in the second period. It was then that Couture was whistled for interference on Dustin Brown on a call that appeared to infuriate Todd McLellan from the bench.

The result was a power play goal from Mike Richards, when Partick Marleau drifted a little bit too far from the Kings center and he had all day to line up a wrist shot from the circle on a feed through the slot by Anze Kopitar.

I dont think anybody on our team was too happy with the call, said McLellan. In my opinion, Logan established his ice and Brown ran into him.

They have a tough job. We talk about that all the time. Referee Dave Jackson made a discretionary call that went against us.

Couture was a little more blunt than his coach.

Its not a good call, he said. He ran into me, I braced myself. It sucks that they scored on it. Everyone makes mistakes.

The Sharks didnt let the goal get them down to start the third, though. San Jose had the better of the scoring chances in the final frame but were unable to solve Quick in regulation or overtime.

Jamie McGinn was stopped from close range with about five minutes left, and shortly after that, Marleau had a chance at the front of the net but Drew Doughty was there to tie up his stick.

On the other end, Richards found himself with the puck in the slot but Marc-Edouard Vlasic was there to get his stick in the way of Richards wrist shot with time running short.

I think in the third period we probably outplayed them a little bit, said Thornton.

After a scoreless overtime, Antti Niemi stopped Jarret Stoll, Brown and Richards while Kopitar slid it wide. Richards failed attempt ended the game after Clowe had just tallied at the other end in the top of the fourth round.

Clowe knew ahead of time that he wanted to go to his forehand.

Ive went against Quick a couple times with my backhand, so I figured Id try to mix it up, said Clowe, who is now 2-for-4 all-time against Quick in shootouts.

The Sharks opened the scoring on Coutures team-leading 15th goal of the season. Clowe found Couture in the high slot for a one-timer at 7:53 of the second period.

To find a soft spot like that doesnt happen very often, said Couture. Clowie made a great feed and I was able to get a lot on it."

Couture knew exactly where he wanted to let 'er rip.

High glove. I like that spot, and thats what we pre-scouted on Quick.

Both Niemi and Quick produced some highlight-worthy saves.

In the first period, Niemi managed to make a toe stop on Brad Richardsons attempt at the side of the net midway through.

Quick made his best stop in the second period, when he got a piece of his glove on a shot by Torrey Mitchell with about eight minutes left, after Mitchell was looking at an open net on a nice pass from Brent Burns.

Niemi made 28 saves while Quick stopped 34.

The whole game both goaltenders were really sharp, said McLellan. They both played well in the shootout, and ours was lucky enough to get one more save from theirs. He did a good job against a team that normally wins shootouts a lot.

The Kings had won their previous two games via the shootout with Quick between the pipes.

The Sharks were also looking to remedy their previous effort against the Kings, who have now gone 14 straight games without scoring more than two goals in reguation. San Jose dropped a 2-0 decision to Los Angeles on Nov. 28 in what was one of their worst games of the season.

We kind of went on a skid after that game and it took us awhile to get back to this point, said Pavelski. We wanted to keep that going and keep playing well and establish our game.

The Sharks will try to improve to a perfect 5-0 on their six-game homestand after getting to spend a couple days with their families. And theyll have the satisfaction of a physical, tight-checking victory fresh in their minds.

Its nice. This game was really big, a division game before the break. It felt like whatever way that game went tonight, we competed. We battled hard. Both teams did, it was a pretty exciting game and was a hard-fought game for a regular season game 30 games in."

I think we wanted to battle hard, knowing we would get two days off. We wanted to leave everything on the ice today, said Niemi.

Odds and ends: Logan Couture and Patrick Marleau each have six points in the last five games.The Sharks lost the faceoff battle, 27-25, as Anze Kopitar won 13 of 19.The Sharks were 0-for-5 on the power play and 2-for-3 on the penalty kill. They had killed nine straight penalties before Richards goalDarryl Sutter fell to 1-0-1 as Kings coach.Mike Richards was playing in his second game back since missing eight with a concussion. He has a goal in each of the two games.Douglas Murray and Jim Vandermeer remained out with hand injuries.

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