Purcell's late goal lifts Kings over Sharks, 6-4
If doubts crept into the Kings' minds, they didn't have time to take residence.
San Jose rallied from a four-goal deficit to tie the game with 5:36 remaining in the third period, but Kings forward Teddy Purcell scored just 26 seconds later and the Kigns went on to a 6-4 victory over the Sharks before 15,035 Tuesday night at Staples Center.
The Kings showed much improvement in 5-on-5 play and got goals from Wayne Simmonds
, Ryan Smyth
, Jack Johnson
, Anze Kopitar
, Purcell and Davis Drewiske
, who capped the scoring with an empty-net goal for his first NHL goal.
But a dominating start led to a nail-biting finish, largely because the Sharks went 4 for 4 on the power play and didn't wilt after they trailed 4-0 in the second period.
"We're glad that we stayed composed and (we're) pleased to get the win,'' Kings defenseman Matt Greene
said, "but obviously the penalty kill has to be better and that put the game in jeopardy. It shouldn't have been that way. For the most part, the guys stayed composed and we came back to win the game.''
Former Kings captain Rob Blake got some momentum going for the Sharks when he scored a power-play goal late in the second period to pull the Sharks within 4-2. Devin Setoguchi scored his second goal of the game to make it a one-goal game, 1:01 into the third period, and Dany Heatley's goal tied it.
The Kings then quickly got possession, and Purcell, stationed at the end line, right of the net, flipped the puck toward Sharks goalie Thomas Greiss. It glanced off Greiss and went into the net to put the Kings up 5-4.
"We played a lot against (Greiss) last year when he was in Worcester,'' Purcell said, referring to his time with Manchester of the American Hockey League last season. "He has a lot of holes, for some reason. ... The ugly ones usually find a way in.''
Coming off an all-around poor 6-3 season-opening loss to Phoenix on Saturday, the Kings improved their game in almost every area except one, the penalty kill, although after the game Kings coach Terry Murray credited the Sharks' power play.
Otherwise, the Kings carried 5-on-5 play for most of the game. The Kings' "stopper'' line of center Michal Handzus
and wingers Alexander Frolov and Simmonds did a stellar job against top San Jose forwards Heatley and Joe Thornton.
"When you look at the 5-on-5 play, we didn't give them that many opportunities,'' Kings captain Dustin Brown
said. "The Sharks had to earn everything they got, and they did it on the power play.
"We don't want to blow a 4-0 lead, but the mindset on the bench didn't change when it was 4-0 or when it was tied.''
Kopitar had two assists to go with his second-period goal. Goalie Jonathan Quick
made several tough saves early and had 25 saves. Drew Doughty
, much maligned for his tough outing in the opener, had an assist and a plus-3 rating.
Based on the first 35 minutes, it appeared that a Kings blowout was in store.
Hard work around the net paid off on the Kings' first goal. Frolov started the play behind the net, but couldn't stuff in the wraparound. Handzus jumped on the rebound and Sharks goalie Evgeni Nabokov made the save, but Simmonds got another rebound and beat Nabokov.
The Kings started the second period on the power play, and it might have ended if not for a great play by Doughty to keep the puck in the Sharks' zone.
Kopitar got the puck on the left side and took a shot. Brown, camped out in front of the net, got a whack at the rebound before Smyth picked up the puck on the right side. He kicked it onto his own stick, then beat Nabokov with a wrist shot.
Johnson made it 3-0. Handzus skated up the right side and made a nice backhand centering pass. Johnson, skating hard to the net, timed it perfectly, with his stick parallel to the ice, and knocked the puck down and past Nabokov.
Nabokov got pulled with 7:44 left in the period after Kopitar skated up the right side, unleashed a rocket slap shot and beat Nabokov to the top right corner of the net. Greiss replaced Nabokov.
Quick had stopped all 17 shots he faced until, with four minutes remaining in the second period, Setoguchi ripped a one-timer from the slot, off a nice centering pass from Thornton in the corner, to make it 4-1.
With 17 seconds remaining, Blake got strong position in front of the net and nicely deflected a centering pass from Thornton into the net to pull San Jose within two.
Setoguchi's second goal made it 4-3. Heatley fed a pass through the crease, past the stick of Kings defenseman Matt Greene
, and Setoguchi knocked it in before Quick could cover the far post.
(1-2=3 tonight) has five points in the first two games (2-3=5)...The line of Kopitar, Justin Williams
and Ryan Smyth
has combined for nine points in the first two games (3-6=9)...Davis Drewiske
scored his first NHL goal and had his first multi-point game of his career (1-1=2)...Drew Doughty
was a plus-3 tonight after a minus-2 rating Saturday vs. Phoenix...Jarret Stoll
won 11 of 14 faceoffs tonight...The Kings are 2-0-1 in their last three meetings with San Jose...Smyth has 18 goals in 49 career games vs. San Jose (18-16=34)...Since 1985-86 the Kings have started a season 1-1-0 14 times (23 seasons).
|Three star selections