SAN JOSE, Calif. – Tomas Plihal scored the short-handed go-ahead goal, Evgeni Nabokov had to make just 12 saves and the San Jose Sharks beat the Kings 3-1 Saturday night, blemishing Los Angeles coach Terry Murray’s debut.
Devin Setoguchi and Joe Pavelski also scored as the Sharks handily beat their second straight Pacific Division opponent after opening the season with a 4-1 win over Anaheim on Thursday night.
Defenceman Rob Blake had five of San Jose’s 41 shots while playing another outstanding game for the Sharks, who signed the longtime Kings star as a free agent during the summer. Blake spent 13 1/2 of his first 18 NHL seasons with Los Angeles, including the past two.
Alexander Frolov scored an early goal and Jason LaBarbera stopped 38 shots for the Kings, who hope to rebuild under Murray’s direction after finishing last season tied with Tampa Bay with an NHL-low 71 points. Los Angeles actually won three games at the Shark Tank in November 2007 alone, but San Jose took control Saturday night with a dominant second period.
The clubs finish a back-to-back miniseries Sunday night at Staples Center.
Anze Kopitar, the Kings’ All-Star centre, wasn’t much of a factor in his first game since agreeing to a seven-year, US$47.6-million contract extension through 2016 earlier Saturday. Kopitar managed just one shot in 19 minutes of ice time.
Blake left the Kings on July 3 for a one-year, $5-million deal with the Sharks, who give him a better opportunity to play meaningful games in the spring than in rebuilding Los Angeles.
“That’s what you need when you get to this stage of your career,” Blake said Thursday night. “It was a lot more difficult (in Los Angeles) the last couple of years than I thought it was going to be.”
Frolov scored just 6 1/2 minutes in, banging home a one-timer on a pass from Michal Handzus, but Setoguchi tied it early in the second period on a rebound of Marc-Edouard Vlasic’s shot. Setoguchi has one of the most enviable positions in hockey on a line with Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau, and he has capitalized with two goals in the Sharks’ first two games.
With Thornton in the penalty box late in the second period, Vlasic threaded a difficult long pass down the boards to Plihal. The rookie deked defenseman Jack Johnson before beating LaBarbera to the stick side for his first goal.
Pavelski scored moments after another San Jose penalty ended early in the third period, converting a 2-on-1 with Jonathan Cheechoo by slipping a hard shot under LaBarbera’s pads.
Notes: Kopitar’s deal is the second-longest in Kings franchise history, surpassed only by Wayne Gretzky’s eight-year deal in 1988. … Sharks C Marcel Goc missed his second game with a back injury. … Los Angeles C Patrick O’Sullivan, who missed nearly three weeks of training camp while working on a contract, was a healthy scratch. He’s expected to play Sunday.