Another virtuoso performance in goal, and an assist to boot? It's Martin Jones' world, and we're all just living in it.
(Unless it's actually Dwight King's world. Which is possible.)
Once again, the Los Angeles Kings and San Jose Sharks played an exciting matchup with talking points, individual excellence, and a victory by the home team. Maybe a 4-1 final score was a bit misleading, but who's complaining?
The Kings and Sharks once again brought us some good back and forth action in the first period, though there wouldn't be any goals. After killing off an early penalty, LA had about ten minutes where they dictated the game and got the best of the chances. (Credit Jake Muzzin and the defense for a lot of that; they were on their game early.) It looked like their failure to score during that stretch would cost them, especially when Dustin Brown got himself ejected near the end of the first. Brown and Tomas Hertl had a knee-on-knee collision with the Sharks clearing their zone; it looked pretty bad, the puck was not in the area, and Hertl was injured and left the game. So even though replays showed Brown not necessarily initiating contact and perhaps even trying to get his leg out of the way, he was pretty much screwed. Watch and judge for yourself via theScore.
The play went on, and the puck was in the net mere seconds later; however, Brent Burns was ruled to have interfered with Martin Jones and went to the box for two minutes as well. Result: after the Burns penalty expired, a three-minute power play near the start of the second for San Jose. That was the first time that Jones really had to step up, and after Matt Irwin hit the post, Jones he denied a couple good opportunities with the pad to help LA survive the disadvantage. A minute and a half later, Alec Martinez got the Kings on the board. Tyler Toffoli got the puck down below the goal line, whirled around, and threw the puck through the crease. Brilliant blind pass, or random attempt to make something happen? Who knows, but the puck went through a few bodies, off the boards, and perfectly to Alec Martinez. His knuckling slapshot beat Antti Niemi under the glove to give LA the lead. Don't look now, but Martinez has three goals in six games. SNIPER!
Actually, Jim Fox would use that word to describe Toffoli six minutes later, when the SNIPER doubled the Kings' advantage. The play was innocent enough, made moreso by the fact that LA had just failed on a power play. The Sharks cleared, Jones got the puck behind the net, and Voynov screamed for the puck as Joe Thornton charged in. (Watch the replay, you can hear the yell.) Voynov then delivered a long stretch pass to Toffoli, taking advantage of the Sharks' line change. With half a step on Dan Boyle, Toffoli didn't have room to drive toward the net, so he simply unleashed a perfect wrist shot to the far side to make it 2-0. Assists: Voynov, and JONES.
What followed was probably a good indication that it wasn't the Sharks' night. A long Justin Braun shot glanced off the post and, though it appeared to go into the netting, no one noticed and play resumed. The next Braun shot went off the boards behind the net and caused some scrambling from Jones, and when Tommy Wingels grabbed the puck, he had half the net for his wraparound. Instead, it slid across the crease, into Jones, and started trickling across the goal line. That is, until Jones (who hadn't even been looking at the puck half a second earlier) reached back and snagged it with his glove.
So the second ended 2-0, and Jeff Carter essentially put the game away 30 seconds into the third. All it took was a little Dwight King magic. Yep, Dwight King provided the best Kings assist we've seen since Linden Vey's debut. Robyn Regehr earned an assist by knocking the puck loose at the blue line, where King took it toward the net. Marc-Edouard Vlasic had been having a very good season for San Jose, but when he left his feet to take away King's options, he simply did this:
Maybe we do need to build that Dwight King shrine.
King added a goal for his own soon after. Regehr stopped a wraparound at one end, and came back on the other end to get his second assist! This one was a wrist shot which Jeff Carter got his stick on in front. When it bounced a couple feet out, King swooped in and buried it to make the score 4-0. The only drama left was shutout-related. Jones made a tremendous blocker save on Marleau midway through the third, but Marleau got his revenge, breaking up the shutout with a quick shot off the pipe and in. I guess you can't ask Jones to stop everything, but he did stop the other 31 shots. So that's good.
The Kings move four points of San Jose and one behind Anaheim in the Pacific Division. Jones moves to an astounding 7-0-0. King and Carter both move to ten goals on the season. Regehr moves to four points on the season. All in all, a productive evening for LA, who wins the latest edition of a heightening rivalry.