<
>

Four-minute penalty too much for San Jose to overcome

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- The last thing the San Jose Sharks needed in
overtime was a four-minute penalty, because they already had the
NHL's worst penalty-killing percentage.

Jason Allison capitalized with 1:10 left in the extra session as
the Los Angeles Kings ended a five-game home losing streak with a
3-2 victory Monday night.

The Sharks, playing on the road for the first time since Dec. 23
after an eight-game homestand, found themselves short-handed just
14 seconds into the extra period as defenseman Scott Hannan cut
Ziggy Palffy with a high stick behind the San Jose net.

''I went to lift Palffy's stick,'' Hannan said. ''I don't know
if he was cut by his stick or mine, but he lays on the ice like
he's dead. I thought it was a bad call -- especially four minutes in
a five-minute game. It cost us a point, and I have to live with
it.''

Rookie goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff stopped seven shots on the
ensuing power play, but couldn't handle a floater from the low slot
by Allison after Vincent Damphousse got his stick in the way of the
shot. It was the sixth goal this season for Allison, playing in his
third game after missing the previous eight because of a sore knee.

''It almost seemed like one of those times that it's never going
to go in, but sometimes you get lucky bounces,'' Allison said. ''On
the shot before, I had a good opening and my stick broke. Then on
the next one, I didn't shoot quite as good -- and it went in.''

The Sharks, who entered the game with a league-worst 76.5
percent on the penalty kill, have allowed at least one power-play
goal in seven of their last eight games.

''It's not very easy killing a four-on-three, and then being faced with
the prospect of having to do it for four minutes,'' Sharks coach
Ron Wilson said. ''We shot ourselves in the foot.''

Marco Sturm scored midway through the third period for the
Sharks and Mike Ricci got his second goal in 15 games in the first
period.

Mathieu Schneider and rookie Alexander Frolov each had a goal
and an assist for the Kings.

Frolov's slap shot from the top of the right circle beat
Kiprusoff to the stick side, giving the Kings a 2-1 lead with 10:45
left in the third period. But Sturm responded 36 seconds later with
his 15th goal -- a wraparound through the legs of goalie Felix
Potvin.

Patrick Marleau tried to win it for San Jose with another
wraparound, but Potvin stopped it with 46 seconds left in
regulation.

Schneider, who sat out the previous game because of an injured
groin, recorded his 10th goal of the season 1:36 into the second
period. It was the 25th goal by a Kings' defensemen, tying the New
York Islanders for the league lead.

''It was a pretty sloppy game. We played pretty desperate
throughout and made mistakes, but we found a way to win. That's
what we need more of,'' Schneider said.

Kiprusoff made 31 saves following the 29-save shutout
Saturday against Vancouver. It was the first time he has started consecutive
games since Oct. 24-25, when he won at Nashville and Columbus in
the final two games of Evgeni Nabokov's holdout.

The Sharks, who entered the league in 1991-92, have never had
shutouts in consecutive games by the same goaltender. The only time
they had back-to-back shutouts was Feb. 14-16, 2001, when Steve
Shields beat Chicago 7-0 and Nabokov beat Nashville 2-0.

Game notes
All four overtime victories by the Kings have been at home. All
four OT losses for the Sharks have been on the road. ... Kiprusoff
had the league's worst save percentage prior to his 29-save effort
in a 3-0 victory against the Canucks. ... Nabokov, who signed a
two-year, $7.15 million contract after setting a club record last
season with 37 victories, is 0-3-1 with a 4.14 goals-against
average in his last four starts. ... San Jose captain Owen Nolan
missed his second consecutive game with a groin injury. ... Kings center Eric Belanger, who played two games after sitting out the previous
six because of a back strain, was scratched after aggravating the
injury. ... Potvin made 17 saves in his 600th NHL game.