LOS ANGELES — In a matchup of the two best defensive teams in the NHL, it was no surprise that the game featured tight checking, solid goaltending and was decided by a fortunate bounce in the third period.
Joel Ward scored the decisive third-period goal and Martin Jones made 26 saves as the San Jose Sharks defeated the Los Angeles Kings 2-1 on Sunday night.
San Jose (10-6-0) won its second straight game and sixth in its last seven contests. Melker Karlsson registered the other Sharks goal. San Jose evened the season series at one game apiece.
Los Angeles (11-4-2) lost its second consecutive home game and has lost consecutive games for the first time this season. Dustin Brown scored the Kings’ lone goal. Jonathan Quick made 31 saves.
It was the first regulation loss for Los Angeles when leading after two periods (5-1-0).
In extending his career record to 7-3-2 against his former team, Jones expected a low-scoring affair from the opening whistle.
“When you have the two-best defensive teams in the league, you are going to have a game like this,” Jones said. “We are not going to outscore teams. This is how we win games, limiting the other team’s chances.”
The comeback victory was a rarity for the Sharks. It was only the third time in 31 games that they rallied from a second-period deficit for a win.
San Jose coach Peter DeBoer agreed with Jones, saying there is little mystery between these longtime rivals.
“That’s the game we expected,” DeBoer said. “I think the first game of the season was a little uncharacteristic and that was on us. We didn’t show up and play well, but we wanted to fix that tonight. That’s a more typical Kings-Sharks game, and it’s nice to be on the right end of it. It was a gritty, gutsy effort. I think we had contributions from everyone. We got through the first period, which is always tough in here and after that, I think we really cranked it out.”
Kings coach John Stevens refused to pin the loss on one bounce over 60 minutes. After an 11-2-2 start, the Kings have looked sloppy in losses to Tampa Bay and San Jose.
“There’s lots of issues before that ricochet happened,” Stevens said. “We had a puck coming out of our zone, which was a bad line change they almost scored on, and then we had the puck on the wall several times and we had a chance to hang onto it and make a play, and it ended up going back towards our net. It may look like an unlucky play, but there was an awful lot of things that could’ve gone better prior to that puck going into the net.”
San Jose took a 2-1 lead on Ward’s third goal of the season at 12:50 of the third period. The Sharks kept possession in the offensive zone off a bad Los Angeles line change and Barclay Goodrow’s pass deflected off Ward’s left skate from 23 feet away through Quick’s legs.
Los Angeles took a 1-0 lead on Brown’s power-play goal, his eighth of the season, at 8:30 of the first period. Brown was stationed in front of Jones to tip in a wrist shot by Anze Kopitar with Drew Doughty registering the secondary assist.
San Jose’s Timo Meier had an opportunity to tie the game with less than two minutes remaining in the second period on a breakaway. Meier gained possession after a Kings offensive zone turnover but his wrist shot under pressure went wide of the cage to Quick’s left.
The Sharks tied the score at 1-1 on Karlsson’s third goal of the season at 5:42 of the third period.
Logan Couture gained possession in the slot after a Los Angeles defensive zone turnover and his wrist shot deflected off Tomas Hertl to Karlsson, who deposited the puck into an open cage. The score broke a seven-game goal-less streak for Karlsson.
NOTES: San Jose recalled LW Kevin Labanc from AHL San Jose Barracuda on Sunday. Labanc has posted seven points (three goals, four assists) in 13 games this season for the Sharks. ... San Jose did not dress RW Jannik Hansen, C Ryan Carpenter and D Dylan Demelo. ... The Sharks start a three-game homestand against the Florida Panthers on Thursday. Los Angeles scratched D Christian Folin and C Michael Amadio. ... Kings C Adrian Kempe returned to the lineup after missing Thursday’s game against Tampa Bay with an illness. ... Kopitar’s first-period assist extended his consecutive point-scoring streak to eight games (2G, 8A).