SAN JOSE, Calif — Martin Jones isn’t one to focus on personal milestones. That might explain why he didn’t even know he’d just won his 100th career game in the NHL until he was interviewed off the ice.
On the ice he stopped 28 shots to blank his former team as the San Jose Sharks beat the Los Angeles Kings 2-0 on Saturday night.
“Obviously getting the result is nice,” Jones said. “But I thought I’ve played some good hockey over the last five games. You get a few bounces tonight, pucks in behind me that our defense cleared out. That can be the difference.”
Jones improved to 8-3-2 in his career against Los Angeles, the team he broke in with and for which he played two seasons, including the 2014 campaign when the Kings won the Stanley Cup.
San Jose improved to 5-1-2 in its last eight games despite playing without injured scoring leader Logan Couture for a third straight contest. The Kings, meanwhile, lost for only the fourth time in 14 games, but they did surrender the Pacific Division lead to expansion Vegas.
“It was a pretty even hockey game, it was a man’s game out there tonight,” Los Angeles coach John Stevens said. “San Jose is one of the better defensive teams in the league. They don’t give you anything for free.”
Playing a division rival for a fifth straight contest brought out the best in the hosts.
“We played with a lot of energy tonight,” said Jones, who collected his third shutout of the season and 18th of his career. “That’s a tough, big, strong, physical team and I thought we really answered the bell tonight. When we play with energy like that, and that kind of compete, we can beat any team in the league. It’s just a matter of rolling that game out every night.”
The power play added insurance at 7:35 of the third period when Joe Pavelski’s tip caromed off Tomas Hertl for his ninth goal of the season.
Pavelski beat Anze Kopitar in the faceoff circle, pushed the Los Angeles center off balance after drawing the puck back to Brent Burns, then tipped the defenseman’s drive to Hertl and past Kings goalie Jonathan Quick as San Jose finally capitalized for the first time on its fifth power play.
“We had chances to push the lead on them but didn’t get it,” Pavelski said of San Jose’s earlier fails with the man advantage. “So, at that moment, to get one finally and break through it was nice to see.”
The only goal of the opening 40 minutes came one second past the midway point of the contest as the hosts finally broke through.
San Jose’s Marcus Sorensen scored his third goal in four games as the team’s fourth line made an offensive contribution, even if they got a little help from the Kings.
Los Angeles forwards Andy Andreoff and Torrey Mitchell collided in the right circle, allowing a free lane for Sorensen to skate to the crease. He pulled the puck to the backhand just as Quick made a move to poke check and pushed the puck into the open net at 10:01.
“I saw two guys skate into each other and the puck was right there,” Sorensen said. “I thought I was going to pass to Ward on the backdoor, then I decided to go to the net.”
The Sharks continued to play a bend-but-not-break defensive style for the remainder of the period. At one point the defense tandem of Brenden Dillon and Burns brought a roar from the SAP Center crowd by each doling out a pair of hard hits while the Kings cycled in the Sharks’ end.
“They played good, they didn’t give us too much,” Kopitar said. “The first period was pretty good on our part, second period we got stalled with the penalties and then taking a few more in the third is not going to create any more momentum, and that’s what happened.”
NOTES: D Paul Martin returned to the Sharks after the conclusion of his conditioning assignment with the Barracuda of the AHL. Martin did not suit up, and he missed his final conditioning game, too, with the flu. ... Sharks C Logan Couture missed a third straight game because of concussion symptoms. F Barclay Goodrow remains out with a lower-body injury. ... Sharks D Joakim Ryan was recalled from the minors and stepped into the lineup for struggling rookie D Tim Heed, who was a healthy scratch. ... The Kings continue to play without injured D Christian Folin and C Jeff Carter, both out with lower-body injuries. ... LW Kyle Clifford was placed on injured reserve with LW Jussi Jokinen and D Kevin Gravel.