Los Angeles, CA (Sports Network) - Antti Niemi stopped 29 shots for his second shutout of the season as the San Jose Sharks took a 1-0 win over the Los Angeles Kings at Staples Center. Devin Setoguchi scored the lone goal of the game off assists from Kent Huskins and Marc-Edouard Vlasic for the Sharks, who have won their past two contests. "To keep that team off the scoreboard was a pretty good accomplishment on our behalf," said San Jose head coach Todd McLellan. "Half way through the night we weren't happy with our game, but we picked it up in the third, we started to get engaged a little more physically, win a few more battles and found a way to get one."
Jonathan Quick turned aside 18 shots for the Kings, who have dropped their past three games. "The second half of the year everyone's playing for points and it's the new year and we're right there in the pack," said Kings forward Dustin Brown. "There's going to be a lot of games like that, we need to find a way to play that way and score some goals at the same time."
Niemi and San Jose turned aside a Los Angeles power play early in the second when Ryane Clowe was called for delay of game after flipping the puck over the glass. The game was scoreless till late in the second period when San Jose went ahead as Setoguchi pulled the puck back and used a wrister from the right circle that fooled Quick with 1:06 left in the stanza.
The Kings pulled Quick in the final minute for the extra attacker, but were unable to net the equalizer as Niemi finished the third period stopping eight shots to preserve the shutout, the ninth of his career. Quick stopped five shots in the first period while Niemi made nine in the frame.
San Jose hosts Vancouver on Monday...The Kings host the Blackhawks on Monday...The Sharks have taken two of the three meetings with the Kings this season.
(Sports Network) - The Los Angeles Kings didn't get their longest homestand of the season off to a great start. They will try to avoid a third straight loss tonight against the San Jose Sharks at Staples Center. After allowing just three goals over a four-game winning streak from Dec. 21-27, the Kings have allowed a total of 13 tallies in back-to-back losses to the Coyotes and Flyers. Los Angeles began its residency on Thursday with a 7-4 loss to Philadelphia.
Ryan Smyth scored twice, while Justin Williams and Jack Johnson added goals in defeat. Jonathan Bernier gave up six goals on 22 shots before being pulled in the second period. He was replaced by Jonathan Quick, who stopped 5-of-6 shots the rest of the way. "Certainly two of our ugliest of the year," said Kings defenseman Rob Scuderi. "We're not making excuses for ourselves, but it does happen. We have to scrap them under the rug and move on."
Los Angeles, which fell to 13-3-1 at home this season, has gotten inconsistent defense this year when facing San Jose. The Kings capped their recent win streak with a 4-0 victory in San Jose thanks to a 24-save shutout from Quick, but that victory came just over a month after Los Angeles dropped a 6-3 road decision. The Sharks, who got goals from six different players in that November rout, have won nine of the last 14 in this series overall as well as two straight, four of six and nine of the last 12 played in Los Angeles.
The Kings and Sharks are currently tied for second in the Pacific Division with 45 points, three back of the first-place Stars. San Jose used a balance attack to win on Thursday to snap a two-game slide, with five different skaters lighting the lamp in a 5-3 victory in Chicago. Joe Thornton had the game-winner, Ryane Clowe added an empty-net tally and Scott Nichol, Benn Ferriero and Dany Heatley all scored as well.
"We were pretty positive (heading into the third)," Thornton said. "It's a 3-3 game. We're in Chicago. We have 20 minutes to win the game. We were upbeat, and I think that's why we won this game." Antti Niemi turned aside 26 shots to earn his third victory of the year against the team he backstopped to the Stanley Cup title last season.
Joe Pavelski and Torrey Mitchell both sat out last night's game with lower- body injuries and are day-to-day. Pavelski has missed two in a row, while Mitchell has sat out the last three games. San Jose, which has won five of seven overall, ends a three-game road trip tonight.