SAN JOSE, Calif. – Dustin Brown, Anze Kopitar and Teddy Purcell picked the perfect time to end their long goal droughts.
Brown scored for the first time in more than a month 1:16 into overtime, Kopitar and Purcell ended their own droughts in regulation, and the Los Angeles Kings overcame a blown third-period lead to beat the San Jose Sharks 5-4 on Wednesday night.
“What a time to break through for three guys who have been snake bitten for a long time,” coach Terry Murray said. “Hey, they were due. We stayed with them, kept playing them and believed in them. They got it going here tonight. Hopefully they can maintain that.”
After Dany Heatley’s pass to the point went out of the Sharks’ zone, Brown took the puck at centre ice, skated in and beat Evgeni Nabokov through the legs for his seventh goal of the season, but first since Nov. 7.
Kopitar earlier ended his 14-game drought – the longest of his career – with a power-play tally in a three-goal second period for Los Angeles. Purcell had gone 26 games without scoring before breaking through with the first goal of the game.
“It was definitely a good feeling when I scored,” Kopitar said. “I’m pretty sure it was for Teddy and Brownie. A couple of monkeys jumped off the back. It was a pretty big game to score in, too.”
Jarret Stoll and Drew Doughty also scored for the Kings, who have won five of six and snapped a five-game losing streak in San Jose. Erik Ersberg made 30 saves to earn his second win of the season in his first start since beating Carolina on Nov. 11.
This matchup between the top two teams in the Pacific Division gave the Kings a chance to see how they measured up against the defending division champions. Los Angeles answered the challenge, beating the Sharks for the second time this season and moving within three points of San Jose.
“Obviously it’s huge for our team, not only in the standings but emotionally it’s a big boost for us knowing we’re capable of playing with these guys,” Brown said. “To come in here and get points is a huge boost for us.”
Manny Malhotra tied the game for the Sharks when he beat Ersberg with a wrist shot for his seventh goal of the season with 7:41 remaining in regulation.
Patrick Marleau, Joe Pavelski and Dan Boyle scored for the Sharks, who have dropped three straight home games for the first time since the 2007-08 season.
“I thought we were pretty sloppy,” Boyle said. “Four goals is usually pretty good and enough to win hockey games. We were just a little sloppy. We don’t want to play that way but we’re confident we can come back.”
Stoll started the second-period barrage by tipping Jack Johnson’s shot from the point through Nabokov’s legs to tie it at 2.
The Kings took the lead with their second power-play goal of the game, one shy of the total allowed at home all season by San Jose coming into the night. Doughty fed Kopitar with a perfect cross-ice pass, and Nabokov had no chance to stop the Kings’ leading scorer. Doughty then added a goal to make it 4-2 midway through the period before Boyle got the Sharks back within one with his seventh goal.
“The penalty kill let us down,” Sharks coach Todd McLellan said. “We did some uncharacteristic things. We tried to stretch our shifts and go on the offensive. That’s not the way we play. As a group we need to be sharper in a lot of different areas. I’m starting to see guys in the wrong place and that’s mental mistakes. As a coaching staff we have to correct that.”
NOTES: The Kings’ last win in San Jose came in a shootout on Nov. 28, 2007. … Sharks F Ryane Clowe extended his career-best, point-scoring streak to 10 games with two assists. … San Jose had killed 47 of 50 penalties at home before allowing two power-play goals to the Kings.