LOS ANGELES -- The Sharks showed effort, energy and focus in the third period of Mondays loss to the Kings at Staples Center.Thats what makes it so much harder to figure out where they were in the first two.Jonathan Quick pitched a shutout in net and Ethan Moreau and Mike Richards provided the offense in a 2-0 Kings win over San Jose, in which the visitors were missing in action for most of the first 40 minutes. It was the Kings' first home shutout of the Sharks since March 23, 2002.
All I can say is, there are 82 games. You have to find a way to get up for every game, said Dan Boyle, whose team lost consecutive games in regulation for the first time since Oct. 15-17. Some nights are tougher than others, but at the end of the day you have to find a way.Im going to pick work-ethic, commitment, passion, said an ornery Todd McLellan, when asked what the problem was at the outset. I wanted to know where they went between the second and third to find it. Really disappointing, and probably more disappointing because we came out and played hard in the third. It made it even tougher to swallow.
The Sharks have played a number of physical and fast paced games lately against the likes of Detroit, Dallas, Chicago and Vancouver. Could it be that they were emotionally or physically drained, and looking ahead to a couple days off before hosting Montreal on Thursday?Boyle doesnt want to hear any excuses.Theres no reason why we shouldnt be ready for these guys, he said. Theyre in our division. As well as weve played, we talked about how were one point out of a playoff spot after 20 games. Its that close.He's right. The Sharks entered Mondays action with 27 points and the third seed in the Western Conference, while the ninth-seeded Edmonton Oilers had 26. The Kings, who improved to 6-1-2 in the Pacific while dropping the Sharks to 3-4-0, leapfrogged over three teams to take the division lead with 28 points.Quick, playing in his 200th career NHL game, recorded his 18th career shutout and second against San Jose. He didnt have to do a whole lot until late in the second when the Sharks had back-to-back power plays while trying to cut into the Kings two-goal lead.The 25-year-old goalie got some help on one shot when Boyle blasted it off of the post, and later snagged a wrist shot by a cutting Joe Pavelski late in the frame.In the third, Quick made a chest stop on Jamie McGinn after a bouncing puck ended up on McGinns stick in the slot with about seven minutes left, and shortly after he stoned Patrick Marleau who was alone in front, trying to redirect in a nice feed from Joe Thornton.Thirteen of Quicks 33 saves came in the third period.It didnt matter who was in goal for them, we werent near the net and didnt create anything, said McLellan of the first 40 minutes. In the third period he played very, very well."Hes an elite goaltender. We had our chances, we just couldnt finish, said Thornton.The Kings jumped out to a first period lead for just the third time this season on a pair of Sharks mistakes. After an unfathomable turnover by Justin Braun in the defensive zone, Moreau picked it up on the corner and quickly threw it on net. Antti Niemi misplayed it, and it snuck behind him at 8:37.Same thing as last game, I just have to see the puck and follow the puck, said Niemi, referring to a similar goal he surrendered on Saturday to Vancouvers Manny Malhotra.The goal was Moreaus first in 59 games, with the last coming on Oct. 9, 2010 in San Jose, when he was a member of the Edmonton Oilers.Los Angeles increased that lead to 2-0 during a four-on-four situation with Thornton and Jarret Stoll off on coincidental minors. This time it was Richards, who scored his ninth goal in the last 10 games on a feed from behind the net by Simon Gagne. Gagne patiently waited for Marc-Edouard Vlasic to give him an opening before feeding Richards in front of the net.Despite being down and showing little fight up to that point, the Sharks had a couple of golden opportunities to get back into it before the second period ended, as Stoll and Matt Greene were whistled for infractions at 15:24 and 17:52, respectively.The Sharks finished 0-for-5 on the power play, though, and McLellan chalked up that failure to San Joses general approach to the game.Its typical of these nights, he said. When you dont contribute, you dont give effort early in the game and wait for the power play to come, youre usually not sharp enough to score. You create a number of opportunities, but youre not going to get rewarded for it.The hockey gods dont work that way.Odds and ends: The Sharks were without Michal Handzus (sick) and Colin White (personal). Jason Demers was scratched, while Frazer McLaren made his season debut. There was a long delay in the third period after an apparent goal by the Kings that would have made it 3-0. The ruling came down that Slava Voynov kicked it in, although it appeared to go in off of the heel of Dustin Browns stick. Just before that, Brown made a dazzling move to skate around Braun and feed Voynov. Niemi finished with 31 saves. The Kings were 0-for-3 on the power play. The Sharks won 40 of 69 faceoffs.