LOS ANGELES – A pair of rookies helped the Sharks jump out to a first period lead, Logan Couture scored twice, and Martin Jones continued his strong play against his former team as the Sharks downed the Kings at Staples Center on Wednesday night, 4-1.
The Sharks improved to 5-1 in their last six games while increasing their advantage in the Pacific Division to three points, while snapping the Kings’ five-game winning streak in the process.
The Kings had the territorial edge for most of the first period, but the Sharks capitalized on their few opportunities in seizing a commanding 3-0 lead.
Couture and Kevin Labanc perfectly executed a two-on-one to open the scoring. Couture laid a perfect saucer pass to Labanc to his left, and the rookie fired home his second of the season at 3:32.
A pair of goals in the final minute staked San Jose its three-goal cushion at the break. Couture managed to chip through a Joonas Donskoi rebound after strong work behind the net by Joel Ward at 19:05, and just half a minute later Ryan Carpenter recorded his first career goal, finding space through Peter Budaj’s pads after Mikkel Boedker’s lead pass from the neutral zone.
Carpenter found himself in the middle of the third line for the final half of the first period when Chris Tierney had to leave the ice. Tierney went hard into the corner boards after Jake Muzzin tripped him up, but returned to start the second.
The Kings kept up the pressure early in the second and got on the board with a Dustin Brown power play score at 3:01, when the former L.A. captain lifted it over Jones from the doorstep. Trevor Lewis nearly got another one shortly after that after he had Jones beat, but Brent Burns came storming in to the blue paint and managed to deflect the puck away just before it crossed the line.
Jones finished with 26 saves, improving to 5-1-1 in his career against the Kings, not including last year’s playoffs when San Jose eliminated Los Angeles in five games in the first round.
Couture’s empty net goal from deep in his own end with 1:17 to go capped the scoring.
The Sharks, who beat the Kings in the season opener on Oct. 12, return to Staples Center on New Year’s Eve.
The Sharks had just one power play in the game early in the third period, and failed to increase their lead.
The Kings were 1-for-2. San Jose is just 14-for-19 on the PK over its last eight games (73.6 percent).
Jones was starting back-to-back games for the first time this season, after he recorded the win against Arizona at home on Tuesday night. He’s 7-2-1 in his last 10 games, and tied for second in the NHL with 12 wins.
Budaj took the loss, allowing three goals on 23 shots. Jonathan Quick, hurt in the first game of the season in San Jose, remains out with a groin injury.
Two rookies scored road goals for the Sharks for the first time since March 3, 2015 when Melker Karlsson and Chris Tierney had goals in Vancouver.
Joe Pavelski’s seven-game point streak came to an end.
Tommy Wingels, day-to-day with a lower body injury, missed his third straight game.
The Sharks will host the top team in the NHL on Friday when the Montreal Canadiens visit SAP Center. After that, they won’t play against until Wednesday, Dec. 7 against Ottawa.