Kopitar, Kings get back on track in 3-0 win over Sharks
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Anze Kopitar scored on the power play, Cal Petersen made 29 saves and the Los Angeles Kings beat the San Jose Sharks 3-0 on Thursday night.
Phillip Danault and Adrian Kempe each scored a goal, Sean Durzi had two assists, and the Kings avoided being swept in the four-game season series against the Sharks.
“They’ve kind of had our number the last couple of years here,” Petersen said. “For whatever reason, every game that we play, they’re a great team and it’s a dogfight for the whole 60 minutes, and that’s what makes a rivalry great. But glad that we were able to win this round.”
James Reimer allowed two goals on 26 shots, and the Sharks had their four-game point streak snapped. San Jose was called for a season-high six penalties.
“Every time we got a couple of shifts and some flow going to our game, we took another penalty,” Sharks coach Bob Boughner said. “The whole second period, I think it seemed like I played the six same forwards the whole period just we were killing so much.”
Kopitar ended a 10-game goal drought when he scored on a wrist shot through traffic at 6:57 of the second period. It was just his second goal in the past 18 games, and it was apparent the frustration had been building for the normally measured Kings captain after he tried to break his stick after missing a short-handed chance against Colorado on Tuesday and threw a water bottle down the tunnel when the Avalanche scored on the power play at the other end in a 3-0 loss.
“It’s always in your head, and I don’t think I’ve gone through a struggle like this before, ever,” said Kopitar, who had gone a career-high six games without a point. “It’s nice to get off the schneid, and more importantly, it’s nice to win a game and move on.”
Kopitar’s sixth power-play goal also brought a larger measure of relief to a special teams group that had been nearly invisible over the previous 10 games. Los Angeles had been in a 2-for-17 funk, often struggling to get the puck into the offensive zone cleanly.
For San Jose, it ended a stretch of surprisingly dominance on the penalty kill. The Sharks had operated at a 96.2% (51 for 53) clip in their previous 17 games.
“The goal they scored, I mean, that’ll happen from time to time, but that’s not even a scoring chance. ... Those are the ones that have to stay out of your net, but it’s been our backbone all year and special teams have helped us get quite a few points this year,” Boughner said.
Danault made it 2-0 late in the second, batting in the rebound of Durzi’s shot from the blue line. The second line of Danault and Trevor Moore, who had the secondary assist, had been driving the scoring for the Kings while Kopitar and company had been struggling, but those two each ended a three-game run without contributing a point.
Kempe added an empty-netter with 2:57 remaining in the third, his first in 11 games.
Sharks F Tomas Hertl had two short-handed chances, but his shot and follow-up late in the second were saved by Petersen, and Danault had to take a slashing penalty in the third to break up the other.
Timo Meier looked as it he was going to make it 2-1 with five minutes to go, but Durzi batted the shot out of midway before it went it.
“Lucky for them, unlucky for me, but sometimes that bounce just doesn’t go your way and you got to work even harder to get it, and I think we didn’t do that as a team overall today,” Meier said.
Kings D Alex Edler returned after missing 36 games because of a broken ankle and was a plus-1 rating in 12:59. Edler was the only Los Angeles defenseman that played on opening night available against San Jose.
NOTES: Kopitar (60) passed Marcel Dionne (59) for second place in game-winning goals for the Kings. ... Danault is up to 18 goals with 21 games remaining after never scoring more than 13 in his first seven seasons. ... It was Durzi’s fourth multipoint game. ... Sharks F Noah Gregor played in his 100th career game. He is the fifth player from the 2016 draft class selected in the third round or later to reach the century mark.
Sharks: Host Colorado on Friday night.
Kings: At Vegas on Saturday.
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