Sharks squander three leads, fall in OT to Kings
The Sharks will get one more chance to prevail at Staples Center this season, where they are just 1-8-3 in their last 12 games. (AP)
LOS ANGELES – On the day before Halloween, the Staples Center remains a house of horrors for the San Jose Sharks.
Anze Kopitar’s power play goal in overtime gave the Kings a 4-3 win on Wednesday night. San Jose, which lost all six games here last season including the playoffs, fell to 10-1-2. The Sharks completed a five-game road swing with a 3-1-1 mark.
San Jose surrendered three separate one-goal leads in regulation. A too-many-men-on-the-ice penalty at the 12-minute mark of the third period gave the Kings their fifth power play of the night, and Justin Williams lifted a shot over Antti Niemi at 12:21 to make it 3-3.
Jeff Carter drew a hooking penalty on Justin Braun in the first minute of overtime. Kopitar’s one-timer at 2:32 ended the game.
The Sharks had a 3-2 lead at the start of the final period thanks to a power play goal of their own. Logan Couture got open in the slot, but Patrick Marleau made the goal happen with a perfect redirection to Couture on a pass from Jason Demers. Couture’s seventh goal at 18:04 of the middle frame gave San Jose a 3-2 lead that it took into the dressing room.
For the sixth time in 13 games, the Sharks scored a goal within the first minute and a half of a game. It came when Couture won a battle along the wall with Kopitar, and fed Marc-Edouard Vlasic for a marker just 13 seconds after the faceoff.
The Kings responded quickly, though. On a rare misplay for the Sharks in their defensive zone, Matt Irwin turned the puck over to Justin Williams. The Game Seven hero from last may pushed the puck to Drew Doughty in the slot at 2:32.
Los Angeles gave it right back midway through the first, when Trevor Lewis couldn’t control a pass high in the zone, Tommy Wingels gathered it in before passing to a charging Pavelski, who patiently waited for Jonathan Quick to commit before depositing his fifth goal.
Jarret Stoll’s redirection of a Slava Voynov point shot re-tied the game at 3:25 of the second.
Marty Havlat made his season debut from offseason pelvic surgery on the wing of the Pavelski-Wingels line, where Matt Nieto had typically been. Nieto continues to recover from a minor hand injury, but skated on Wednesday morning.
The Sharks haven’t won in regulation/overtime at Staples Center since Jan. 1, 2011, when Devin Setoguchi scored the game’s only goal.
The Sharks were at the tail end of their road trip, but the Kings were likely the more fatigued club after playing in Phoenix on Tuesday night. San Jose flew home after the Ottawa game on Sunday, spending the two nights in the Bay Area before a flight to Southern California.
On the power play, the Sharks finished 1-for-4, and Los Angeles was 2-for-6. It was the first time all season that San Jose was shorthanded more than it was on the power play.
The Sharks entered with the third ranked penalty kill in the NHL, and have allowed just six power play goals against while scoring two shorthanders.
After his first night off on Sunday, Niemi, who entered with shutouts in two of his last three starts, made 19 saves.
Quick won for the fifth time in six games with 17 saves.
Along with Nieto, Dan Boyle (head into boards) and Brent Burns (upper body) remain out. Freddie Hamilton was a scratch after playing the last four games.
The Sharks open up a three-game homestand on Saturday against Phoenix. San Jose’s schedule slows down a bit over the next two weeks, with just four games in a 12-day span.