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San Jose at Los Angeles

Nabokov, Boyle lead Sharks past sputtering Kings

CBSSports.com wire reports
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LOS ANGELES -- Even a team with six Olympians in its starting lineup occasionally has to grind out unglamorous victories, and the San Jose Sharks showed they're not above getting their gloves dirty.

Evgeni Nabokov made 33 saves, Dan Boyle had a goal and an assist, and the Sharks ended the Los Angeles Kings' recent mastery over them with a 2-1 victory Monday night.

Dany Heatley scored his 26th goal for the Pacific Division-leading Sharks, who had lost two of three, including an embarrassing 6-2 loss to Los Angeles at the Shark Tank seven days earlier. With excellent penalty killing and a strong bounce-back effort by Nabokov, San Jose beat the Kings in regulation for the first time in five meetings this season.

"They've dominated us so far this year," said Boyle, who scored on a shot through traffic early in the first period. "The first two periods, I thought we were in their zone, and we got a lot of shots on net and a lot of traffic. They fought back, but it was a better effort on our part."

San Jose still is struggling for offense, managing only seven goals in its past four games. Sharks coach Todd McLellan had a rare week of disappointment with his club's physical effort in losses to the Kings and Detroit, and he let his players know about it with a physical practice Sunday in San Jose.

"We were a little more detailed," McLellan said. "It still wasn't easy. They came at us very hard in the third period, but I thought we were better along the boards. We won more battles."

Randy Jones scored and Erik Ersberg stopped 34 shots for the slumping Kings, who have lost three straight -- all by one goal apiece -- to open a seven-game homestand. Los Angeles went 0 for 5 on its power play, including a fruitless two-man advantage in the third period.

After briefly leading the Western Conference only a month ago, Los Angeles is back on the fringe of the playoff picture after losing seven games during its worst 10-game stretch of the season. Los Angeles coach Terry Murray also had concerns about his team's condition, holding lengthy meetings with his players during practice Sunday.

The effort was better, but not good enough to avoid another one-goal loss to an opponent with years of experience in overcoming slumps.

"We were scoring a lot in the beginning of the year, but as of late, it's been really tough for us to find goals, even if we're getting the chances," Los Angeles captain Dustin Brown said. "We've got to try to stay positive, though. It does no good to be negative at this point in the year."

The Kings' woes couldn't be blamed on Ersberg, who recovered from a shaky beginning to only his second start since Dec. 9 while filling in for U.S. Olympic team goalie Jonathan Quick, who was pulled from the Kings' 4-3 loss to St. Louis on Saturday night. Murray said he saw "flatness" in Quick's game, while Ersberg had beaten the Sharks on Dec. 9.

Los Angeles could have struggled defensively without defensemen Matt Greene, who missed his first game of the season with a lower-body injury, and Davis Drewiske, who's on injured reserve.

"We played a lot better tonight than we played against St. Louis," Ersberg said. "But it's still a loss, so we've got some stuff to work on. It's tough to lose one-goal games, but I think we've got a lot of one-goal wins, too, so that probably evens out."

San Jose began the game with six of its NHL-high eight Olympians on the ice, showcasing the defending Pacific Division champions' enviable top-shelf talent.

Less than four minutes in, Boyle's shot from the point slipped between several players and through Ersberg's legs for the Canadian Olympian's ninth goal of another strong season. Boyle thought his shot ricocheted off Kings defenseman Sean O'Donnell, but wasn't sure.

Heatley then scored during a lengthy man-advantage early in the second period, batting his own rebound out of mid-air for the 26th goal of his debut season with San Jose. The star forward connected with the puck at about Ersberg's mask level, just low enough to avoid a high-sticking call.

Jones answered for Los Angeles 37 seconds later, scoring his first goal since Dec. 3 on a weak-side rebound. Alexander Frolov got the primary assist in his 500th NHL game, all with the Kings.

Notes

  • Greene is expected to be out for at least 10 days.
  • D Alec Martinez played a regular shift for the Kings in only his fourth game. He has been up and down from Los Angeles' AHL affiliate in Manchester, most recently getting sent down Saturday and recalled Sunday.
  • Ersberg hadn't started at Staples Center since March 16, 2009.
  • Sharks LW John McCarthy played his second game of the season.
  • Joe Thornton picked up his 48th assist on Heatley's goal.
Copyright 2015 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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Joe Pavelski takes a shot from L.A.'s Jack Johnson, but San Jose takes the decision.  (Getty Images)
Joe Pavelski takes a shot from L.A.'s Jack Johnson, but San Jose takes the decision. (Getty Images)
Scoreboard
San Jose  (29-10-7) «1102
Los Angeles (25-18-3)0101
Three Stars
D. Boyle
SJ


Goals: 1
Assist(s): 1
E. Ersberg
LA


Saves: 34
Save Pct.: .944
E. Nabokov
SJ


Saves: 33
Save Pct.: .971

Related Video

Scoring Summary
1ST PERIOD
03:54Dan Boyle (9), Snap Shot, Unassisted.
2ND PERIOD
04:40Power Play - Dany Heatley (26), Wrist Shot. Assist: Thornton, Boyle
05:17Randy Jones (5), Wrist Shot. Assist: Frolov, Kopitar
3RD PERIOD
None
Penalty Summary
1ST PERIOD
07:04Boyle, 2 min, Tripping
10:20Thornton, 2 min, High-Sticking
18:38O'Donnell, 2 min, Hooking
2ND PERIOD
02:21Martinez, 2 min, High-Sticking
03:54Johnson, 2 min, High-Sticking
19:07Vlasic, 2 min, Hooking
3RD PERIOD
04:44Boyle, 2 min, Tripping
06:10Murray, 2 min, Delay of Game - Puck Over Glass
Shots On Goal
 123T
San Jose1415736
Los Angeles971834
Goalies
GoalieMINSSGA
Evgeni Nabokov59:38331
Erik Ersberg58:13342
Game Information
Attendance - 17821
Referees - Wes McCauley, Kelly Sutherland
Linesmen - Mike Cvik, Lyle Seitz
 
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