FINAL – Kings 0, Sharks 3 – Anderson-Dolan, McLellan

For the first time at home this season, and the first time since October 2019, the Kings were shutout on home ice, as they fell by a 3-0 margin against the San Jose Sharks.

San Jose scored the only goal of the opening period, as Tomas Hertl got a tip on a Nikolai Knyzhov shot from the left point to make it 1-0 Sharks, less than three minutes into the game. The best Kings chance fell to Adrian Kempe, who was denied from close range twice shortly after the goal.

The Sharks doubled their advantage midway through the second period, as Timo Meier buried a Hertl feed to make it 2-0. The Kings challenged the play for goaltender interference, as Rudolfs Balcers bumped Drew Doughty into Cal Petersen, but the call on the ice was upheld.

The Kings did have some chances, especially in the second period, but were unable to crack Martin Jones, who improved to 4-1-0 versus his former team so far this season. TRevor Moore had a look similar to Kempe’s, but was stopped twice, and Andreas Athanasiou had a look at a mostly empty net off a rebound in the third, but his shot missed the mark.

The Sharks found the empty net late, after a few attempts were foiled by the goaltending efforts of Drew Doughty, to seal the deal.

The Kings have won just one of the five head-to-head matchups versus the Sharks so far this season, and tomorrow’s rematch will be the final game between the two teams at STAPLES Center. The regulation win for San Jose moved them two points clear of the Kings in the West Division standings, dropping Los Angeles down to seventh place, five points behind Arizona for the division’s final playoff position. A disappointing result, following the encouraging win over Vegas on Wednesday.

Hear from forward Jaret Anderson-Dolan and Head Coach Todd McLellan after today’s game.

Jaret Anderson-Dolan

Todd McLellan

On if the offensive struggles relate to the hot play of Martin Jones, or if it’s something the Kings need to do better
That’s a hard question to answer. It is a hot goaltender, obviously he’s playing really well against us. We created chances, we had good looks, a lot of that hot play by him goes onto our tape as well. We’ve got to bear down on some of those opportunities, coaches for 100 years have said that. When you get good looks, eventually they’ve got to go in and the players have to find ways to relax enough, make the right read, and finish the opportunity that’s created. On top of it, I thought [San Jose] checked really well. They got a lead early and they didn’t give us much time or space to do much. Give them credit, they played a solid game.

On the line changes he made, moving Iafallo/Brown away from Kopitar
Just different linemates, a little more speed for Kopi…just trying something.

On what he factors in when considering line changes in-game
Our guys have good attitudes regardless of who they go out there with. The guys respect some of the decisions we make, it’s simply we’re standing there watching and some lines have a tremendous amount of jump, other lines are a little flatter, maybe a little slower. We’re trying to find combinations that complement each other, and finding a way to get a spark and maybe something good will happen. It didn’t occur that way tonight, but we’re back to the drawing board tomorrow.

On if he feels he’ll keep the changed lines together tomorrow
We’ll review the game, and we’ll look at our line combinations and see how everyone feels tomororw. There’s always bumps and bruises, so I can’t commit to the lines.

On Sean Walker’s enhanced role tonight, and whether it was due to his play, or the situation
Both. Situationally, he had to take more on, because of where we are with our lineup, losing Toby the other day and Olli not being available, but he also played well. He looked very authoritative on the ice, he was skating, aggressive, kept plays alive, so he deserved the minutes he got.

Notes –

– The Kings were shutout for the second time this season (3/12 @ COL), and the first time on home ice. The last time the Kings were shutout at STAPLES Center was 10/17/19 vs. Buffalo.
– Defenseman Sean Walker led all players with nine shot attempts (3 SOG, 4 attempts blocked, 2 missed the net), a season-high. Walker was also on the ice for a team-high 23 Corsi-For tonight.
– The LA Kings were perfect on the penalty kill for the 10th time in their last 11 games. This season, the Kings are 87-for-101 on the penalty kill, ranking third in the NHL in PK percentage (86.1 pct.).
– The Kings have now failed to score on the power play in five straight games, and are 0 for their last 17 on the man advantage.

The Kings are not scheduled to hold a morning skate tomorrow, considering the back-to-back. LA and SJ meet again tomorrow evening at STAPLES Center, with puck drop slated for 7 PM.

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