LOS ANGELES – Brent Burns, Tommy Wingels and Joe Pavelski scored goals, and a brilliant performance by the penalty killers keyed a Sharks win over the Kings on Wednesday at Staples Center, 3-2.
The Sharks finished the season 3-1-1 against the Kings, and have won four of their last six overall (4-2-0). Los Angeles concluded a seven-game homestand with a 3-4-0 mark, dropping eight points behind San Jose in the Pacific Division.
After trading early scores, San Jose scored twice to jump out to a 3-1 lead.
Wingels gave the Sharks their second lead of the night at 15:42 of the first period, burying a Micheal Haley pass on a two-on-one rush.
Then, on a second period power play, Joel Ward redirected a Joe Thornton shot wide, but Pavelski grabbed it off of the end boards and bounced it in off of Peter Budaj at the 10-minute mark.
Los Angeles got one back at 15:19. Kyle Clifford stepped out of the penalty box making it a three-on-two, and after Martin Jones stopped Clifford try from the slot, the puck squirted to Marian Gaborik who easily directed it into the open net.
The Kings’ nearly tied it with about 14:20 to go, but Jones made a brilliant stop on Dwight King’s rebound try, lunging at the shot with his right pad.
Los Angeles failed on four power play chances, getting just one shot in nearly eight minutes.
The Sharks were without Logan Couture for the first time this season. According to coach Pete DeBoer, Couture remained in San Jose due to an illness. Patrick Marleau centered the second line, while Melker Karlsson took Marleau’s place on the Thornton-Pavelski line.
The teams traded first period goals. Burns’ wrister from high in the zone deflected off of Anze Kopitar’s stick and high over Budaj at 3:31, but Los Angeles responded on Tanner Pearson’s redirection of Derek Forbort’s floater at 5:46.
According to Elias, Burns is the first defenseman to have at least 19 goals through the first 45 games of the season since Paul Coffey had 22 in 1985-86.
Thornton notched two assists, moving into 24th all-time on the NHL’s scoring list with 1,370 points, passing Johnny Bucyk.
In a game that featured an abundance of questionable calls, the Sharks went 1-for-4 while remaining perfect on the PK. San Jose has one power play goal in three of its last four games (3-for-13).
The Kings had one power play goal in each of the first four head-to-head meetings before Wednesday.
Jones improved to 6-2-2 against his former team, making 22 stops. He was starting for the eighth time in the last nine.
Budaj allowed three goals on 27 shots. He continues to get the bulk of the work with Jonathan Quick still out from a groin injury suffered on opening night in San Jose.
In Couture’s place, Ryan Carpenter played for the first time since Nov. 30, when he scored his first NHL goal at Staples Center. Barclay Goodrow and Tim Heed, recalled on Tuesday, were scratched.
Kopitar played for the Kings after missing Monday’s game with an illness.
The Sharks will battle the Lightning at home in the second of two meetings on Thursday. On Nov. 12, San Jose beat Tampa Bay at Amalie Arena, 3-1. In the second of back-to-backs, the Sharks are 4-3-0 this season.