SAN JOSE, Calif. – Drew Doughty had a career-best four assists and in the tightly bunched Western Conference, the Los Angeles Kings showed again they weren’t going anywhere.
Six players scored in the Kings’ 6-2 victory Monday night that snapped the San Jose Sharks’ eight-game winning streak.
Michal Handzus, Oscar Moller, Anze Kopitar and Ryan Smyth each scored a goal with Doughty’s help. Wayne Simmonds and Scott Parse also scored for the Kings, who won their third straight and jumped over the Vancouver Canucks to find themselves two points out of fourth playoff spot by improving 3-0-1 against the Sharks this season.
“It was a pretty big game,” Doughty said. “We were sitting in the eighth spot and if we lost this game we might have been out of the playoff spot. But we moved up instead. It was very important. We were really focused before the game and were determined to get a win.”
The defenceman was named to Team Canada last week and is expected to be a big part of their effort in the next month in Vancouver.
“He didn’t make the Olympics for nothing,” Kopitar said. “He’s showing out there. He’s making plays and playing with a lot of confidence and having a lot of fun.”
Patrick Marleau scored his 27th goal, tying New York Rangers’ Marian Gaborik for the league lead. Douglas Murray also scored for the Sharks.
“We were a little off in a lot of areas tonight,” Marleau said. “We made some mistakes on penalty kill, taking penalties and they exploited it. Our game was slipping a little bit and that was a wake up call.”
Marleau was tagged with a throwing the stick penalty immediately after Moller’s goal gave the Kings 2-0 lead.
The Kings took advantage and made it 3-0 when Kopitar used a crowd of players in front of the net to rip a 14-foot wrist shot that skipped by Evgeni Nabokov for his 17th goal of the season.
“I was trying to give it to (Dan) Boyle and I pitched it a bit,” Marleau said. “I guess that’s illegal. That’s good to know.”
Los Angeles scored three goals in the final 4:23 of the first period. Handzus scored and then Moller and Kopitar added consecutive power-play goals in the final 2:31 of the period.
It was the first time this season that San Jose has allowed more than two power-play goals this season.
Los Angeles made it 5-0 with two goals 14 seconds apart late in the second period. The Kings went up 6-0 13 seconds into the third period.
Goalie Jonathan Quick, a member of the American Olympic team, stopped 45 of 47 shots.
Handzus scored the Kings’ first goal after grabbing a rebound from Simmonds and making a wraparound shot that got past Nabokov.
Moller scored his second goal of the season when he was able to make a snap shot from 30 feet that caught Nabokov leaning the wrong way.
Ryan Smyth got his 12th goal on a power play with 3:32 left in the second period and Simmonds added his 10th just 14 seconds later.
Thomas Greiss replaced Nabokov at the start of third period. The new Sharks goalie didn’t fare much better, allowing Parse’s seventh goal just 13 seconds into the period.
NOTES: C Joe Thornton’s assist on Marleau’s goal was his 900th career point. … Los Angeles D Davis Drewiske left the game in the second period with an upper body injury and did not return. … Los Angeles and San Jose meet twice in the next 14 days. … San Jose LW Jody Shelley played in his 500th career game. … C Jarret Stoll returned to action for the Kings after missing seven games with a sore groin and had an assist on Kopitar’s goal. … Los Angeles coach Terry Murray is 14-5-5 against the Sharks. … The Kings are 10-2-1 against Pacific Division opponents this season.