Kings ice Sharks 2-1 in Stadium Series – Sports Out West
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Kings ice Sharks 2-1 in Stadium Series

Marion Gaborik’s unassisted goal at 4:04 of the third period led the Los Angeles Kings to a 2-1 victory over the San Jose Sharks in a Stadium Series matchup at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, home of the San Francisco 49ers. It was the Kings’ seventh consecutive victory, and gave the defending Stanley Cup champions a big advantage in their battle with the Sharks for a playoff position in the Western Conference.

With the victory, the Kings moved into the eighth and final position in the Western Conference playoff race. The Sharks are next in line, but suffer from the Kings having three games in hand. With the loss, the Sharks have now lost six straight home games, and with the trade deadline looming just over a week away, more questions than answers currently surround the Sharks.

Both teams started the game rather tight, with the Sharks particularly slow getting started in the first 10 to 15 minutes, coughing the puck up with great regularity when they weren’t guilty of icing. After settling down, both teams engaged in a hard-hitting, tense game typical of the SoCal-NorCal rivalry.

Shark bites from the game include: 

  • Kyle Clifford of the Kings opened the scoring on a nifty re-direction of a Jake Muzzin shot from the point after a giveaway by the Sharks in their own end – one of eight Shark giveaways in the first period. Clifford’s goal broke a 15-game skid for him finding the back of the net.
  • Tough guy John Scott suited up for the Sharks for the first time in a while on Saturday. While the Sharks’ fourth line had been contributing, particularly with Andrew Desjardins’ two goals in the last outing against the Dallas Stars, calling Scott’s name was coach Todd McLellan’s counter to the Kings’ physicality in the form of Dwight King, Jordan Nolan and Clifford. However, due to McLellan’s and Kings coach Darryl Sutter’s line selections for faceoffs, the big boys rarely saw each other on the ice.
  • Brent Burns’ goal in the first came after Joe Pavelski was booted form the faceoff circle. Instead of Logan Couture taking the draw, right-handed shot Tommy Wingels stepped and won it cleanly back to Burns, who wrist shot beat Jonathan Quick on the far side.

  • Patrick Marleau is no longer regularly skating alongside Couture as part of McLellan’s changing of the lines, but the two almost teamed up for a spectacular goal at the end of the second period. After a huge hit from Wingels caused a turnover, Marleau recovered the lose puck and delivered a touch pass that Couture blasted, beating Quick but catching post instead of net.
  • Wingels was the best Shark on the ice Saturday night, and most of the game, the best player period. He was a catalyst at both ends of the ice, and his 11 hits set a strong tone.

Next up for the Sharks is a Thursday game at home against the Detroit Red Wings.

Photo Credit: Brian Babineau/Getty Images

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Ray Hartjen

A Public Relations pro by day, by night @RayHartjen follows parallel - yet somehow still often conflicting - paths searching for hair metal guitar legend status, a career as a journeyman 4th line center in the NHL, and the treasured laminates to be a hanger-on in the circus that is Formula 1.
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