LOS ANGELES-- The general feeling in the Kings’ locker room following their third consecutive loss Saturday night was more disappointment and less dissatisfaction.
San Jose managed to score their first goal in the last two games against the Kings, which was just enough to escape with a 1-0 victory at Staples Center.
“It’s not the result we wanted, that’s for sure, but we outplayed them,” said Kings forward Dustin Brown, who finished with a team-high eight hits.
The Kings out-shot the Sharks, 29-19, they out-hit them, 40-31, but they just couldn’t solve San Jose goalkeeper Antti Niemi, who shut out the Kings through two periods Monday before allowing four unanswered goals in a 4-0 loss in San Jose.
“It’s one of those games where he [Niemi] was on and seeing most of the pucks,” said Kings forward Anze Kopitar. "Maybe we didn’t have as much of a net presence as we wanted to.”
After allowing 13 goals in the previous two games, the Kings' defense limited San Jose’s scoring changes. The Sharks even had a 5-on-3 advantage for 1 minute 57 seconds of the first period, but were snuffed out by defensemen Matt Greene and Rob Scuderi, who were on the ice for the entire kill, and Kopitar and Michal Handzus, who rotated during the 5-on-3.
“The three guys, the two defensemen and the forward, did a good job reading,” said Kings coach Terry Murray. “There was a lot of intensity. We called a time out so we could stick with the same two defensemen and they came through for us.”
The Kings now face the Chicago Blackhawks on Monday at Staples Center, a team that enters Sunday’s game in Anaheim just a point out of the top eight in the Western Conference standings and two behind the sixth-place Kings.
“The second half of the year everyone is playing for points," Brown said. "We’re right there in the pack.”