Kings @ Sharks Recap: LA's Loss Guarantees Third Place

The reaction? A collective shrug and a "bring it on."

Disappointed with the Los Angeles Kings' loss tonight? I know no one likes losing to the San Jose Sharks, but try not to take it too hard. Let's tell you why.

[Box Score]

The Kings looked strong on the second night of a back-to-back

Without bogging you down too much with the #fancystats (see them here!), the Kings played well tonight. The first period and the third period both saw long stretches in which the Kings controlled possession and got their shots at Antti Niemi. Even in a second period in which the Sharks took the lead and the momentum, LA recovered and finished the frame with some better scoring chances.

LA didn't ice their first-choice lineup

Another effect of playing for the second straight day: the Kings looked a little different from what they'll look like in Game 1 of the playoffs. Dwight King was still absent from the lineup. Willie Mitchell got the night off, with Matt Greene slotting in on the third pairing. And Darryl Sutter made the right move on a back-to-back, starting Martin Jones in net. Jones made some good saves, but he also failed to control the rebound before Logan Couture's wraparound goal in the second period.

Alec Martinez got another point

Can't be mad after that happens. Also, the Kings' only goal was pretty sweet; Dustin Brown's pass from behind the net went all the way through to Martinez, whose shot was tipped by both Jarret Stoll and Jordan Nolan on its way in. The rare double tip, sadly, is not worth two goals, but the temporary third line got on the board!

The Sharks had a million hits and the Kings were fine with it

San Jose set a franchise record for hits tonight, and Joe Thornton said in no uncertain terms that the Sharks' focus tonight was on hitting the Kings a lot. It certainly helped San Jose's morale, and I guess any time you can go after Slava Voynov to get yourself a confidence boost, why not? The Sharks will happily call this a statement game, but the Kings didn't flinch. Randy Hahn and Drew Remenda (who I thought did a good job in the booth tonight) even said it: you get a lot of hits when you don't have the puck. If that pattern continues in the playoffs, we might just take that trade-off.

Heck, LA's only problem with it was when Drew Doughty hit Tyler Kennedy and sustained an upper-body injury. Speaking of, one more reason not to be too upset...

Drew Doughty is traveling to Vancouver!

We still don't know the exact severity of Drew Doughty's injury, but Lisa Dillman gives us some reason for optimism.

This, above all, should be a reason to sleep reasonably well tonight. That, and this almost certainly won't be the last time we see the Sharks this year.