SAN JOSE – The San Jose Sharks played the NHL’s stingiest defensive team on Tuesday night, and the result was all too predictable.
The Sharks allowed a power play goal in the first period and two even-strength goals in 1:10 in the second in a 4-1 loss to the Los Angeles Kings at SAP Center.
The Sharks managed just nine shots on goal in the first two periods, including seven at even strength.
Jacob MacDonald scored at the 18:41 mark of the third period, as the Sharks avoided being shut out for the second time in three games, and for the first time at home this season.
Goalie David Rittich, who was making his Kings debut and his first NHL start of the season, needed to make just 14 saves, including three on the power play as the Sharks went 1-for-3 with the man advantage.
The Sharks nearly scored earlier in the third period. After a scramble in front of the Kings’ net, the puck glided toward the goal line, but Los Angeles defenseman Mikey Anderson swiped it underneath Rittich before it fully crossed.
Sharks goalie Kaapo Kahkonen faced 37 shots as his record this season fell to 5-8-1.
Anze Kopitar scored a power-play goal at the 17:48 mark of the first period, and Trevor Moore and Alex Laferriere scored in the second period at the 4:07 and 5:17 marks, respectively.
That was enough offense for a Kings team that has allowed just 2.41 goals per game, the fewest in the NHL this season, before Tuesday. The Sharks, in contrast, had allowed a league-high 3.90 goals per game, to go with an offense that has mustered just 2.13 goals per outing
The Sharks managed just five shots on net in the first period.
Part of the issue for San Jose was a lack of success in the faceoff circle, as it lost 12 of 18 draws in the first 20 minutes, continuing a trend that started with last week’s game against the Arizona Coyotes. In that game, the Sharks won just 21 of 56 faceoffs.
The Sharks fell behind 1-0 in the first period on a power play goal by Kopitar, who was left alone near the right side of the Sharks’ net when he took a pass from Arthur Kaliyev and beat Kahkonen with a shot just inside the post.
The Sharks had a similar chance at even strength with just under 12 minutes left in the first period. But after a centering pass from Tomas Hertl, Rittich extended his right leg to stop a shot from Mario Ferraro, who looked like he might have a tap-in goal.
The Sharks’ coaching staff was hoping to get a response from Anthony Duclair on Tuesday after the veteran forward was a healthy scratch two days earlier in what became a 6-2 loss to the Colorado Avalanche. Quinn wasn’t happy that Duclair didn’t hustle to get back onside Friday against the Arizona Coyotes, negating a late third-period goal by Mikael Granlund in what turned into a 1-0 Sharks loss.
“Just got to skate more,” Duclair said. “You’ve got to track back and work hard.”
Quinn said Sunday that sometimes, “sitting above and watching kind of gives (you) a chance to press reset and get back at it.”
Asked if he agreed with that viewpoint, Duclair said, “For sure. Different perspective watching from the sidelines and that it. Try to turn the page and move on.”
“Keep skating both ways in all three zones,” Quinn said of his message to Duclair said, “and when he does that, he’s a really good player in this league.”
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