Los Angeles Hockey: Patrick Marleau

Kings: Another two-goal lead goes by wayside in season finale

April, 7, 2012

San Jose Sharks 3, Kings 2 (OT)

Eight keys to the game:

THE FACTS: By the time the puck dropped Saturday night at HP Pavilion in San Jose, neither the Kings nor Sharks still had an opportunity to win the Pacific Division title. Phoenix took care of that just before the opening faceoff by defeating the Wild in Minnesota to clinch its first division championship in franchise history. There was still plenty of incentive to enter the postseason on a high note, however. Unfortunately, that team won't be the Kings, who blew a two-goal lead in the third period before giving the game away in overtime. The Kings finished as the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference and will open the playoffs Wednesday or Thursday in Vancouver against the top-seeded Canucks.

THE STAT: For the second consecutive season, the Kings had a chance to earn home-ice advantage for the first round by winning their final two games. Instead, they were swept for the second consecutive year. This one particularly hurt, as the Kings held two-goal leads late in both games and would have won their first Pacific Division title in 21 years had they held on.

TURNING POINT: With his team trailing, 2-0, after two periods, San Jose coach Todd McLellan made the bold move of pulling starting goalie Antti Niemi and replacing him with Thomas Greiss, who had played just once since Feb. 26. That seemed to send a message to the players, as defenseman Dan Boyle scored 35 seconds into the third period to give the Sharks life, and Patrick Marleau tied the score with a power-play goal at the 8:14 mark of the period. That allowed the game to venture into overtime, and Boyle won it with 1:02 left in the extra five-minute period, backhanding a shot from 10 feet out past Kings goalie Jonathan Quick.

HOT: After scoring four power-play goals Thursday night in a 6-5 shootout loss to the Sharks at Staples Center, the most in one game in three years, the Kings scored two more man-advantage goals in the rematch. L.A. came into the game 8-for-24 on the man-advantage against San Jose this season, and ended up scoring 20 percent of its power-play goals against the Sharks. Justin Williams, who scored two power-play goals in the loss Thursday, scored the first goal for the Kings, his 22nd of the season, matching his total from a year ago. The Kings also out-shot San Jose in the opening period, 15-5, after out-shooting them in the first 20 minutes Thursday, 18-8.

NOT: As was noted in the game preview and deserves repeating, Quick has proved to be a great goalie in the fall and winter, but a bust in the spring, when it matters most. He did not look sharp against the Sharks for the second consecutive game and is most responsible for the Kings failing to win the Pacific Division. At the end of the 2009-10 season, he gave up three or more goals in seven of his last nine regular-season starts, then allowed 21 goals in a six-game loss against Vancouver in the opening round. Last season, he allowed 11 goals in his final four starts of the regular season. The Kings lost three of those games, keeping them from earning home-ice advantage in the first round. He then gave up 20 goals in a six-game loss to the Sharks, including six goals in Games 3 and 4 at Staples Center. He allowed eight goals in the final two games against the Sharks this season. This upcoming playoff series could define Quick’s career for years to come.

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Kings: New look greets the Sharks

November, 27, 2011
Kings (11-8-4, 26 points) vs. San Jose Sharks (13-6-1, 27 points) at Staples Center, 7:30 p.m.

Five storylines to track:

1. Shuffling the deck – In an effort to reverse a season-long scoring slump, Kings coach Terry Murray made top-to-bottom line changes during practice Sunday. The most notable involve switching Jarret Stoll from third-line center to second-line right wing, opening the door for rookie Andrei Loktionov to move into his natural position at center. Dustin Brown moved from right wing on the second line to left wing on the top line, and Justin Williams drops back from the top-line right wing to the third line. Trent Hunter will get a look on the top line with Anze Kopitar and Brown. Got all that?

2. Déjà vu – The Kings got off to a franchise-best 12-3-0 start last season, but it’s interesting to note they have the same number of points (26) this season as they did after 23 games a year ago. After their hot start last season, the Kings came back down to earth by losing seven of their final eight in November. They rebounded with a 9-4-1 month of December to reignite Stanley Cup hopes, only to hit another skid after the New Year. The Kings need a similar holiday run if they want to keep pace in the West, where eight teams begin the week ahead of them in the standings.

3. Statement game – The Kings haven’t hosted the Sharks since their walk-off overtime winner last April in Game 6 of the opening round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. It’s important that the Kings prove to themselves, and their fans, that they can beat the top teams in the Western Conference, like the Pacific Division-leading Sharks. The Kings are a combined 0-4 this season against San Jose, Detroit, Chicago and Vancouver, the same teams that combined to make up the Western Conference finals the last three seasons. Until they can win against those teams, it’s difficult to get excited about anything more than another first-round exit.

4. Seconds please – The Kings received secondary scoring in their 2-1 loss to visiting Chicago on Saturday night, but they’d be the first to admit they should’ve had more. Hunter and another veteran forward, Ethan Moreau, missed the wide-open net on a couple of rebounds during the game. Hunter’s miss was especially painful because it occurred with about 2 ½ minutes remaining in the game and the Blackhawks clinging to a one-goal lead. In the 3-2 overtime loss to Dallas on Wednesday, second-year forward Kyle Clifford also missed wide at the end of a 2-on-1 breakaway, which would have given the Kings a two-goal lead early in the third period. When scoring is as difficult to come by as it has been for the Kings, they need to pot the easy ones.

5. Marleau is money – It seems every team that comes to town these days has a sniper that has owned the Kings over the years. Chicago had Patrick Sharp and San Jose has Patrick Marleau. In 79 career games against the Kings, Marleau has 73 points, more than he has totaled against in any other team in the NHL. He has been especially dangerous against the Kings on the power play, notching 10 goals and 20 assists. When the Kings lost to the Sharks, 4-2, on Nov. 7, he had a goal and two assists.

Kings lose fifth straight game, 4-2

November, 7, 2011
Kings vs SharksAP Photo/Marcio Jose SanchezDrew Doughty and the Kings couldn't find their game against the Sharks in a loss Monday.
San Jose Sharks 4, Kings 2

Eight keys to the game:

THE FACTS: The San Jose Sharks scored four consecutive goals in a span of just under 15 minutes during the second half of Monday night's game at HP Pavilion in San Jose, more than enough to send the reeling Kings to their fifth consecutive loss.

THE STAT: The Kings were held under three goals for the fifth straight game and have two goals or fewer in 10 of 14 games this season.

TURNING POINT: After the Kings took a 1-0 lead on a 5-on-3 goal by Jack Johnson early in the second period, the Sharks exploded for three goals in a 5 minute 23 second-span of the same period. Joe Thornton faked a wraparound, reversed direction and banked a shot off Kings goalie Jonathan Quick from below the icing line. Less than a minute later, Patrick Marleau redirected a shot from Dan Boyle between Quick’s legs, and Boyle then made it 3-1 with a 5-on-3 goal of his own.

HOT: The Kings had one of their better first periods of the season, out-shooting San Jose, 14-7, but they had nothing to show for it ... Up against the 29th-ranked penalty kill unit in the league, the Kings scored both of their goals on the power play, one area of improvement thus far this season ... Anze Kopitar had a goal and an assist, giving him eight points in the last six games.

NOT: In his five starts since establishing a franchise record with three consecutive shutouts, Quick has been off his mark, giving up 18 goals in six games with a save percentage of just .900 (162-180) ... Johnson scored a goal but was also minus-3 for the game, along with his defense partner, Rob Scuderi.

GOOD MOVE: Kings coach Terry Murray moved Dustin Penner from the third to the second line to give him more scoring opportunities and the switch paid off early, as Penner had three good scoring chances in the opening period but couldn’t convert. Unfortunately, he didn't get another shot on net the rest of the game.

BAD MOVE: With the Kings leading, 1-0, left wing Kyle Clifford was whistled for tripping in his offensive zone. The Sharks didn’t score during the ensuing power play but still had possession when the penalty ended and Thornton scored 14 seconds later to tie the score, 1-1. The soft goal may have bothered Quick because he gave up two more goals before the period ended.

NOTABLE: Dustin Brown played in his 200th consecutive game for the Kings, the longest streak of any current team member ... Boyle came into the game with the most shots on goal by any player in the NHL without scoring a goal. That streak did not continue.

UP NEXT: Tuesday vs. the Nashville Predators at Staples Center, 7:30 p.m.

Kings: Goalies dominate in scoreless first period

April, 21, 2011
Western Conference quarterfinals

Game 4 (San Jose leads best-of-seven series, 2-1)

After the 1st period:

Kings 0, San Jose Sharks 0

The good: If the opening period was any indication, this game won’t be the shootout Game 3 was, when the Sharks stormed from four goals down to win in overtime, 6-5. Both goalies are playing as if they have a lot to prove after that game. Kings goalie Jonathan Quick made several brilliant saves on the 13 shots he faced, including a pair of world-class stops on a 5-on-3 power play midway through the period that lasted 1:22. Both attempts came on cross passes to an open side of the net, but Quick slid across the crease in time to bat both redirections away. Michal Handzus and Rob Scuderi also deserve an assist on that penalty kill, as both were on the ice for the entire two-man disadvantage. San Jose goalie Antti Niemi, who was pulled from Game 3 after giving up four goals in just over a period, knocked down a couple of good chances from Wayne Simmonds and another from Kyle Clifford during the best shift of the period for the Kings, which started about six minutes into the game.

The bad: The Kings had their own 5-on-3, although theirs lasted only 13 seconds. The back-to-back penalties seemed to give them some momentum, but defenseman Drew Doughty nearly threw a bucket of cold water on his team when he committed a turnover at the blue line during the second power play, whch nearly resulted in a 2-on-1 goal. Joe Thornton then stole the puck off Doughty's stick in offensive zone and passed Patrick Marleau for an open look but Quick snuffed out that chance as well.

The in between: Dustin Penner has definitely caught the attention of Kings fans. Penner, who broke a 14-game point-less streak with an assist last game but was then caught behind the play on the winning overtime goal, was booed when the starting lineups were announced. Penner did not manage any shots in the opening period but he did record a hit.

All of sudden it's tied 5-5 after two

April, 19, 2011
Western Conference quarterfinals

Game 3 (Series tied, 1-1)

After the 1st period:

Kings 5, San Jose Sharks 5

The good: Not much positive to write about when the home team blows a four-goal lead early in the second period. The only bright spot was the offense did manage to tack two more points on the board. The Kings didn’t waste any time adding to their lead three-goal lead after the first intermission. Brad Richardson intercepted a pass in his offensive zone and scored an unassisted goal 44 seconds into the second period for a 4-0 lead. The goal was the second of the game for the Richardson line and third by the bottom two lines. San Jose pulled goalie Antti Niemi after the goal and inserted Antero Niittymaki, who must have brought his good-luck charm. Before the Sharks scored twice in the final 85 seconds to tie the score, Ryan Smyth scored what seemed like a huge goal for the Kings to regain their two-goal cushion. Smyth's goal came 15 seconds after the Sharks had cut the deficit to 4-3. Jarret Stoll brought the puck down the left side and slid a beautiful centering pass to Smyth at the right post and he tucked the puck into the net with 6:13 remaining in the period.

The bad: Just when the Kings thought they could relax and enjoy the lead, the Sharks scored twice in just under four minutes to cut the deficit in half, then twice more in the final two minutes to tie the score and hush the Staples Center crowd. About 2 ½ minutes after taking the four-goal lead, Dan Boyle faked a slap shot and instead sent the puck just wide to Patrick Marleau, who redirected it into the net with Kings defenseman Matt Greene on his back. The Sharks then went on the power play after Dustin Penner was called for roughing and they capitalized with 17 seconds left on the man advantage as Ryane Clowe tipped in a cross pass from rookie Logan Couture with 13:07 left in the period. The damage didn’t end there as the Sharks cut into the deficit again while skating 4-on-4. Ian White, who sat out the last game after taking a hard lick that earned Stoll a one-game suspension for Game 2, slid a cross pass to Couture who had nothing but an open side of the net to shoot at. After the Kings made it 5-3 on Smyth's goal, the Sharks delivered a couple daggers as Clowe and Joe Pavelski took advantage of some poor clearing attempts by the Kings and put the puck past Kings goalie Jonathan Quick, who is still in the game despite allowing five goals on 25 shots.

The in between: One of the biggest cheers of the period was for Anze Kopitar, the team’s leading scorer who was captured on the big screen watching from the press box. Kopitar went down with an ankle injury with seven games remaining in the regular season and lost for the playoffs. Kopitar looked as if he'd much rather be earning cheers on the ice and the Kings could sure use him about now.

Kings: Brown's power play goals key in 4-3 shootout win

March, 25, 2011

LOS ANGELES — If the Kings hope to finish their playoff surge and make a dent in the postseason, they’ll need to make the most of their opportunities.

They came into the Thursday night's game against the San Jose Sharks ranked 20th in the league in power-play efficiency, and owning a string of 14 consecutive unsuccessful man-advantage situations.

But the power play was the difference against the Sharks, as Kings captain Dustin Brown scored two huge goals with the man advantage, then put the Kings over the top with a shootout goal that clinched the 4-3 victory at Staples Center.

"We got an ugly goal early and maybe that's the spark we needed," Brown sad. "It's nice to get some power-play goals and we need to build on that because, coming down the stretch here and into the playoffs, power plays can win you games and win your series. That's probably one of the more important things."

Brown's first power-play goal was set up when rookie defenseman Alec Martinez dumped the puck into the San Jose zone. Kings left wing Alexei Ponikarovsky got to the puck first and chipped it back over to Brown, who was camped near the right post. Brown dug the puck out from behind the net and shoved it past San Jose goalkeeper Annti Niemi to tie the score, 1-1, with about 13 minutes remaining in the second period.

His second goal was even bigger, as the Sharks had tied the score, 2-2, with 3 ½ minutes remaining in the game. Less than two minutes later, after Joe Thornton had gone to the penalty box for interference, Brown took a pass from Michal Handzus and drilled it past Niemi for a 3-2 lead.

It wouldn't hold up, however. Patrick Marleau scored his second goal of the game with 4.1 seconds left, sending the game into overtime. That just gave Brown one more chance to be the hero, and he buried his shootout attempt into the net. Marleau then missed wide on the other end and the Kings claimed the victory, keeping them in fifth place in the Western Conference standings.

They also moved to within five points of San Jose for the Pacific Division lead. The Kings are now 6-0-2 in their last eight against Pacific Division foes.

Dustin BrownVictor Decolongon/Getty ImagesDustin Brown scores what proves to be the winner in the shootout against the Sharks.

Kings: Brown, Mitchell double up on Sharks

March, 24, 2011
After the 2nd period:

Kings 2, San Jose Sharks 1

The good: In less than two minutes, the Kings doubled their goal output from the previous three games. They also ended an 0-for-15 slump on the power play on their first goal, which tied the score, 1-1, at the 7:18 mark. With right wing Jamal Mayers in the box for holding the stick of Michal Handzus, rookie defenseman Alec Martinez dumped the puck into the San Jose zone. The rubber caromed behind the net where Kings left wing Alexei Ponikarovsky got to it first, pushing the puck back toward Dustin Brown, who was camped by the right goal post. Brown pulled the puck in from behind the net and slipped it past goalkeeper Antti Niemi for his 24thgoal of the season. Just over a minute later, Handzus, Ryan Smyth and Oscar Moller did an admirable job on the forecheck to keep the puck in the San Jose zone. Moller, playing in his first game since getting called up from the minors following the shoulder injury to Justin Williams, drove to the net but Niemi made a pad save. The puck caromed out high to defenseman Willie Mitchell, who sent a one-timer into the net for a 2-1 lead. It’s the fourth goal of the season for Mitchell, matching his career high. In addition to assisting on the first goal, Martinez also made the defensive play of the period, sliding on his belly to break up a shot during a Sharks’ 2-on-1 with a little more than three minutes remaining in the period.

The bad: The Kings saw their streak of 35 consecutive penalty kills come to an end 35 seconds into the period. Jarret Stoll was still off the ice for a questionable slashing penalty at the end of the first period when Patrick Marleau slid a pass to Joe Pavelski, who redirected the puck into the net for his 14th point in the last six games.

The in between: The Kings limited the Sharks to four shots on goal that period and have a 27-13 edge total. Unfortunately, the score isn’t as uneven.

Kings: Moving on without Justin Williams

March, 24, 2011
Kings (41-26-6, 88 points) vs. San Jose Sharks (43-23-8, 94) at Staples Center, 7:30 p.m.

Five storylines to track:

1. Injury update– The Kings had escaped any serious injuries to their core group until midway through the third period Monday against the visiting Calgary Flames. That’s when second-leading Justin Williams was driven into the boards by Calgary defenseman Robyn Regehr, resulting in a dislocated right shoulder. In the best-case scenario, Williams will miss the regular season but could possibly be available at less than 100% by late in the first round, if the Kings get that far.

2. Moller gets the call (up) – Filling the top-line right wing spot left vacated by Williams is 22-year-old Oscar Moller, who can match some of Williams' offensive skill but is woefully less experienced in a playoff-type atmosphere. Williams was a member of the Carolina Hurricanes team that won the 2006 Stanley Cup title. Moller has played in 78 career games but none in the postseason.

3. Clifford back for more – Kings rookie forward Kyle Clifford, who was knocked down by a stiff right hand from Ryan Reaves of St. Louis last week, is set to return after suffering nothing more than a black eye. Clifford has been one of the big surprises this season, and his grind-it-out style will come in handy against the Sharks, who know a thing or two about physical play.

4. Shark attack – San Jose leads the Pacific Division after catching fire in mid-January. The Sharks defeated Calgary, 6-3, on Wednesday to improve to 22-4-3 in their last 29 games. They have been scoring goals at will, pouring in 20 in their last four games, all victories against Western Conference opponents. The Kings are six points back of San Jose in the Pacific with nine games remaining, so a regulation loss tonight is sure to eliminate them from contention.

5. Leading the frenzyPatrick Marleau is among a group of San Jose players clicking on all cylinders. Marleau has seven goals and seven assists in his last 10 games, while Joe Pavelski has three goals and 10 assists in his last five. Marleau scored twice against Calgary for his fifth 30-goal season. The Sharks are also getting contributions from role players such as Torrey Mitchell, who recorded his first career two-goal game against the Flames, and Andrew Desjardins notched his first career goal.

Kings: San Jose ends a pair of streaks, 6-3

November, 15, 2010
That wasn’t pretty.

The Kings saw their six-game winning streak come to a screeching halt Monday night in San Jose, losing to the Sharks, 6-3, at HP Pavilion.

They also saw their penalty-kill unit come back to earth by giving up two man-advantage goals, ending a streak of 22 consecutive penalty kills.

On a positive note, Scott Parse scored his first goal of the season and Justin Williams added an assist on a goal by Jarret Stoll, giving him points in 10 consecutive games, a career high.

This game might be remembered best for a strange sequence that played out late in the second period. Kings left wing Ryan Smyth appeared to shove the puck past the goal line, but a San Jose player yanked it back out before the referees saw it and play continued.

The Sharks then scored about a minute later, causing a stoppage in play that allowed the referees to review Smyth’s goal. With the scoreboard reading, 4-1, for the Sharks, it was determined Smyth’s shot went in, putting one on the board for the Kings and taking one away from the Sharks. Suddenly, the scoreboard read, 3-2.

The Kings couldn’t get any closer, however. Patrick Marleau scored on a power play just minutes into the third period, breaking the penalty-kill streak. Stoll’s goal cut the deficit back to one with about 13 minutes left, but first-liners Dany Heatley and Joe Pavelski hit the back of the net to end any hopes of a comeback.

Kings goalkeeper Jonathan Bernier wasn’t as porous as the score would indicate, but his performance will definitely be viewed as a set back for the young backup.

Look for the Kings to regroup Wednesday against Columbus at Staples Center. We’ll have a report from practice Tuesday on any happenings.