Playing his 10th game since being called up last month, the 22-year-old rookie scored two goals and Evgeni Nabokov stopped 36 shots in the San Jose Sharks’ 3-1 victory over the Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday night. “I was pretty tired at the end,” said Pavelski, who helped the University of Wisconsin win the national championship last season and has seven goals in 10 NHL games. Two of the Sharks’ three goals came on the power play, rated second-best in the NHL. They have won three in a row and eight of 10.
The Kings have lost four of six, and trail Pacific Division leader Anaheim by 28 points.
“We’re just not good enough,” Kings center Derek Armstrong said. “The first two periods we were getting the pucks to the net and I think we tried to play too wide open in the third and it cost us.”
Pavelski gave San Jose a 2-0 lead in the second period when, after clearing the puck out of the Kings’ zone, Patrick Rissmiller found him alone up the ice and he beat Dan Cloutier 1-on-1.
“They shoot from everywhere and we know that,” Sharks coach Ron Wilson said. “They’re not always dangerous, but they make the goalie work. We did a good job clearing rebounds.”
With Sean Avery sent off for tripping, Pavelski made it 3-0 in the third. He beat Cloutier to the stick side after the goalie was caught looking the other way and fell on his face.
“I’ve capitalized on a lot of opportunities I’ve gotten,” said Pavelski, who scored in his first NHL game against Los Angeles. “I’m just so new and I want to keep things going.”
The Kings were forced into a 5-on-3 situation for 47 seconds when Peter Harrold was penalized for hooking and Avery went off shortly after.
“It opened things up with the 5-on-3, and (Joe Thornton) put the pass right there,” Pavelski said. “Anytime Joe has the puck, guys are looking around.”
Nabokov’s bid for his fourth shutout of the season was spoiled by Lubomir Visnovsky at 10:26 of the third. Nabokov didn’t have a clear read on the shot, which went off a player’s skate, but the Kings were outshot 15-5 in the final period after taking more shots than San Jose in the first two periods.
“They were putting the pressure on,” Nabokov said about the Kings’ late flurry. “They were making our defence work. We knew they were going to come out harder.”
Rob Blake and Michael Cammalleri were scoreless on eight shots each.
The Sharks led 1-0 in the first on a power-play goal by Steve Bernier. The puck ricocheted off the boards and went to Bernier, who scored his 10th goal of the season on a rebound.
Cloutier made 28 saves in his sixth consecutive game subbing for starter Mathieu Garon, who is recovering from a groin injury.
Notes: Nabokov has allowed one or fewer goals in his last five games, with a 4-1 record. … The Kings fell to 1-3 against the Sharks this season, and have lost 15 of 18 against their Pacific Division rival. … The teams meet again Thursday in San Jose.