San Jose Sharks Lose In Shootout To Rival Kings

A look at the past week of San Jose Sharks hockey, and a brief look at the week we're in and upcoming games. Check back daily for updates on lineupes, previews, recaps and more. For more info on the team in general, head over to Fear The Fin, SB Nation's San Jose Sharks blog.

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Sharks Squander Third Period Lead Once Again, Lose In Shootout 3-2

Los Angeles, CA (Sports Network) - Jarret Stoll scored in the fourth round of the shootout, lifting the Los Angeles Kings to a 3-2 victory over San Jose for their third straight win.

After the first six shooters all failed to score, Stoll snapped a shot over the glove of Sharks goaltender Antti Niemi to break the stalemate.

"I'm looking at a left-handed catching goaltender and a right shot," Kings head coach Terry Murray said of sending Stoll out fourth. "His read on that is to shoot the puck."

Jonathan Quick stoned Patrick Marleau at the other end, sending LA into the All-Star break on a winning note.

Ryan Smyth and Alexei Ponikarovsky scored in regulation for the Kings, with Ponikarovsky's goal tying the game at 2-2 early in the third period. Quick had 22 saves in the win, including eight in the third period and overtime combined.

Ryane Clowe and Devin Setoguchi tallied for the Sharks, who had a four-game winning streak snapped. Niemi allowed two goals on 20 shots.

"It was a tough game," said Clowe. "I thought we played pretty hard. Both teams played like they needed those points. It would have been nice to end it on that shootout."

Quick had eight saves and Niemi six in a scoreless first period. Smyth broke the deadlock with a wrister through traffic in the slot 13:35 into the second.

The Sharks took a 2-1 lead before the end of the period, however, with Clowe and Setoguchi scoring 39 seconds apart.

Clowe kept it himself on a rush and beat Quick glove-side with a wrister from the slot. Setoguchi came around the left side of the net and slipped one through to give San Jose the lead at 16:03.

It remained a 2-1 game until 5:47 into the third when Ponikarovsky netted a loose puck from in front of the Sharks' net.

Both teams are off until Tuesday, when San Jose will host Phoenix and the Kings will visit Minnesota.

San Jose was trying to win five in a row for the first time since January 16-23 last season...The Sharks were 0-for-3 on the power play, while LA went 0-for-1.

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Sharks Can't Give Up Any Ground Tonight Against Rival Kings

As previously noted, the next string of games for the San Jose Sharks is a rather important one. They're already four games into their winning streak, which includes a division rival and the current No. 1 team in the Western Conference and now face three Pacific Division foes in a row. Up first is a big chance for some points against the Los Angeles Kings, currently at the bottom of the division but nonetheless a dangerous foe.

The Sharks are set to make the Kings their fifth-straight win, and in doing so, get the longest winning streak they've had this season. Sitting just two spots out of last place in the division, the Sharks would like another couple of wins to at least match their previous six-game losing skid with a six-game winning streak. Fortunately, the Kings are the team that trail by two points and are having, if it's even possible, an even more up-and-down season than the Sharks. Those two points are crucial, especially for two teams that were considered favorites for the privilege of jockeying with each other for the Pacific Division lead.

As stated, the Sharks ride a four-game winning streak, coming off an exciting, high-scoring affair against the Minnesota Wild. Devin Setoguchi scored twice in that game while Benn Ferriero put the game-winner to net in the third period. Logan Couture had the other goal for San Jose in the 4-3 edging of the Wild.

Antti Niemi made 24 saves and will be starting again tonight. He's been the goalie for all four games of San Jose's winning streak, and is the uncontested starter while Antero Niittymaki is out with a lower-body injury. 

The Kings are winners in their last two, posting back-to-back victories for the first time since mid-December. Jonathan Quick was the deciding factor in their most recent victory, a 2-0 shutout over Boston in which he stopped thirty-four shots total. Andrei Loktionov and Ryan Smyth provided the two goals for Los Angeles.

Quick is 4-2-1 with a 2.26 GAA against the Sharks, though San Jose has already taken two of three this season, and 10 of the last 15, including the last three in Los Angeles. 

San Jose is 13-9-2 on the road this year and has won two straight and four of its last five as the guest. The Sharks will play their first game following this weekend's All-Star festivities when they host Phoenix on Tuesday. Following the Break, LA will begin a 10-game road trip with Tuesday's game in Minnesota.

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Sharks Can Gain Significant Ground In Pacific Division

The San Jose Sharks are on a four-game winning streak, with one of those wins coming against Pacific Division foes the Phoenix Coyotes on the 17th and the other coming by way of the red-hot Vancouver Canucks on the 20th. The Sharks thoroughly drubbed the former, and took the latter through over time into a shootout, where Joe Pavelski put them down and gave San Jose the 2-1 win. The Coyotes remain ahead of the Sharks in the Pacific Division, while the Canucks continue to be the class of the Western Conference.

However, the Sharks are winning games and that's what matters. Not only are they winning, but they're winning against significant foes, and their next three games are all against Pacific Division rivals. On Wednesday, the Sharks take on the Los Angeles Kings, and follow it up with games against the Anaheim Ducks, and another against the Coyotes. San Jose sits two points back of Phoenix, five of Anaheim and eight of the Dallas Stars. Any points they can get while simultaneously denying the Coyotes and the Ducks points can only serve to help them.

They'll need rookie Logan Couture to continue to play well (does he ever ... not score?) and Antti Niemi to hold the fort and stop everything in his path. It's an uphill battle from here on out, playoffs are no longer a foregone conclusion for Sharks fans. Suddenly, the years of losing in the playoffs don't seem all that bad, as they sit two points above last place in their division.

But these divisional games can take their toll on the opposition, if only San Jose apply the pressure. Will they extend their winning streak?

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