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Rookie helps Sharks skate past Kings

11/6/2002

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) -- Lynn Loyns surprised nearly everybody
when he made the San Jose Sharks' roster this fall. With a few more games like this one, he could stick around for a long time.

Loyns scored his first two NHL goals, and Evgeni Nabokov made 27
saves in his first home game of the season as the Sharks beat the
Los Angeles Kings 5-2 Tuesday night.

Mike Rathje scored two goals in the third period after two early
goals by Loyns, an undrafted left wing who was playing in his third
NHL game. He scored two goals on his first three shifts in the
first period -- the second while he was face-down on the ice, where
he used a nifty bit of stickwork to tip the puck home.

''My expectation coming into training camp was to press people
and show them what I can do,'' said Loyns, a former member of
Canada's national baseball team. ''Things just keep bouncing my way
now. Things are working out great now, and I just want to stick
around as long as I can.''

After four seasons in juniors, Loyns signed with San Jose as a
free agent last year. He scored just 18 points with the Sharks' AHL
affiliate in Cleveland last season, but coach Darryl Sutter is a
fan of his gritty two-way play.

San Jose returned from a six-game road trip for the first of
four straight at the Shark Tank. After a subpar first month of the
season, the Sharks gave a sound defensive effort while pounding
their California rivals.

''It's just a continuation of our road trip,'' Sutter said. ''We
got a contribution from everybody. Our total focus is to get our
team back to .500, and we'll go from there, because November is a
real tough month for us.''

Todd Harvey also scored during San Jose's three-goal third.
Rathje had the first two-goal game of his career.

Jaroslav Modry and Derek Armstrong scored for the Kings, who
began an eight-game, 17-day road trip with just their second
regulation loss in eight games. Captain Mattias Norstrom and
defenseman Mathieu Schneider called a brief team meeting after the
Kings were clearly outclassed by the struggling Sharks.

''I was going to say something, but I just listened,'' coach
Andy Murray said. ''I liked what I heard, but I didn't like that it
had to come up. ... We were trying to get something going all
night, and we couldn't.''

Nabokov, back at the Shark Tank for the first time since ending
his contract holdout two weeks ago, looked sharp in winning for
just the second time in five games.

He weathered a strong Los Angeles rally to begin the third, and
Rathje put the Sharks up 3-1 with a slap shot midway through the
period. Harvey redirected Adam Graves' shot past Felix Potvin with
3½ minutes to play for his first goal of the season.

Potvin made 27 saves for the Kings.

Los Angeles scored just 3½ minutes in when Sharks defenseman
Marcus Ragnarsson blew his assignment on a rush. He left Modry, a
defenseman with considerable offensive talent, alone in front of
Nabokov.

''We couldn't do anything out there after the first 10
minutes,'' Schneider said. ''We became an easy team to play against
after we took the lead.''

Loyns answered 5 minutes later, scoring on his own rebound and
getting enthusiastic high-fives from every teammate.

Less than 4 minutes later, Loyns got his second goal while flat
on his face in front of the Kings' net, slapping a loose puck
behind Potvin with a sideways swing of his stick.

''I had a really good view of it, because I was lying there in
front of it,'' Loyns said. ''I said, 'I can't believe it went in.'
It was just a great feeling.''

Game notes
Los Angeles enforcer Ken Belanger left in the first period
and didn't return. The Kings think Belanger got a concussion in a
collision with Sharks D John Jakopin. LW Mikko Eloranta also was
helped off the ice late in the third period with a knee injury.
He'll be re-evaluated on Wednesday. ... Sharks LW Scott Thornton is
close to returning from shoulder surgery that put him on the
injured list before the season began. Thornton, San Jose's
second-leading goal-scorer last season, expects to play on the road
trip next week. ... Loyns is the second player this season to score
more than one goal in the game in which he scored his first NHL
goal. Eric Boguniecki did it for St. Louis on Oct. 17. ... San
Francisco 49ers guard Dave Fiore watched from rinkside.