LOS ANGELES – It’s a bit strange that the Sharks and Kings won’t play again this season, and the way things are going for Los Angeles, there’s a good chance a playoff matchup won’t be possible, either.
Here are the three takeaways from Wednesday’s 3-2 Sharks win at Staples Center, giving them three wins in five games over their primary adversary.
1 – Shutting down the Kings’ top guys
While goal scoring has come and gone for the Sharks, as long as they keep putting up defensive efforts like they did on Wednesday, they’re going to be fine more nights than not. Jeff Carter was held in check, while Anze Kopitar and Drew Doughty both failed to record a single shot on goal.
Los Angeles coach Darryl Sutter was critical of his stars after the game.
“When it’s that close going into the third period, you need your top guys to step up and make a difference in the third. That wasn’t the case,” Sutter told LAKingsinsider.com.
“You need your big guys to score. I think other than Jeff, there hasn’t been a whole lot of that.”
On the other side, the Sharks got goals from Brent Burns and Joe Pavelski, while Joe Thornton had a pair of assists in one of his better games of late.
2 – Strong special teams
Pavelski shot down a suggestion that special teams was the biggest difference in the game, but in a one-goal win, the Sharks got a power play goal from their captain while completely shutting down the Kings’ power play.
San Jose is 3-for-13 on the power play over the last four games, and the top unit looked dangerous all night, even without Logan Couture. Pavelski was especially jazzed after his goal, perhaps wiping away some lingering visions of his missed net against the Blues last Saturday.
The Sharks’ penalty kill, though, was brilliant. Los Angeles had just one shot in seven minutes and 39 seconds of time on the man advantage.
“I think we did a good job up the ice. We stopped a couple on the breakout,” Burns said. “That’s huge to keep it down.”
3 – Fourth line contributors
Over the last six games, the Sharks’ fourth line – featuring some different players at different times – has contributed 12 points (that includes Mikkel Boedker’s hat trick in Edmonton).
Against the Kings, it was Micheal Haley, Tommy Wingels and Ryan Carpenter giving the team good minutes. Wingels scored the Sharks’ second goal on a nifty setup by Haley on a two-on-one, while Carpenter looked comfortable in his 12 minutes of ice time despite not playing an NHL game in a month and a half.
“I thought [Carpenter] came up and gave us some real good minutes, and Hales has been great all year,” Pete DeBoer said. “Big goal by Wingels coming into the lineup after sitting for awhile.”
Haley said: “It’s definitely nice to get a goal. That’s always a positive. I think we’ve been saying all year our job is to try and be in their end and get a good forecheck. Luckily of late we’ve been getting some points, so that’s good.”