Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Joe Pavelski scored their first NHL goals for the Sharks, blown out 5-0 by Anaheim one night earlier in a showdown between two of the league’s most successful teams.
The Sharks played without injured forwards Jonathan Cheechoo (leg) and Milan Michalek (arm), but had plenty of firepower in their seventh victory in nine games. Vesa Toskala allowed two soft goals while making 24 saves – but with the Sharks’ prolific offense, it didn’t matter.
Marleau got his 200th career goal and Pavelski scored in his NHL debut as San Jose recovered in style, scoring four goals in the first 9 minutes of the second period to rout the Kings in the Pacific Division rivals’ third meeting in 14 days.
Steve Bernier and Marcel Goc added second-period goals, and league MVP Thornton paced the Sharks’ victory with his fifth three-point game of the season. He had the primary power-play assists on San Jose’s tying and tiebreaking goals, then added his own sixth goal of the season on an expertly placed shot through traffic two minutes into the second period.
Marleau added his team-leading 13th goal 58 seconds later, and Goc chased Dan Cloutier by deflecting Scott Hannan’s long shot into the net midway through the period, putting the Sharks up 5-1.
Scott Thornton, Dustin Brown and Lubomir Visnovsky scored for the Kings, who came back rusty after a four-day layoff. Cloutier made just seven saves on 12 shots before getting yanked.
Scott Thornton, who spent his last five seasons with the Sharks before leaving for Los Angeles as a free agent, got the opening goal eight minutes in when Toskala allowed a big rebound.
But Vlasic, the precocious 19-year-old defenceman who earned a roster spot out of training camp, finally got his first goal in his 23rd NHL game when Joe Thornton collected a loose puck behind Los Angeles’ net and set up an easy shot moments later.
San Jose scored seven goals to win the clubs’ first meeting of the season on Nov. 9, but Los Angeles earned a 4-2 victory in the rematch at Staples Center four days later. They’ll meet again in back-to-back games in mid-December.
Pavelski, a centre who led Wisconsin to the NCAA title last spring, made his NHL debut for the Sharks after getting a 4 a.m. call requesting his services while he was in Massachusetts with San Jose’s top minor league affiliate. He took Michalek’s place on a line with Marleau and Bernier, and got his goal on a pass from Hannan midway through the third period.
Notes: The Sharks put Cheechoo on injured reserve before the game, but the 56-goal scorer last season could return as early as Saturday’s game against New Jersey. Cheechoo was hurt in a goal-mouth scramble against Colorado last week. … Michalek, who had 23 points in his first 22 games, got hurt when his arm was bent awkwardly against the boards in Anaheim. … Pavelski is the 11th San Jose player to score in his first NHL game.