SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP)Andreas Athanasiou, Alex Iafallo and Dustin Brown scored in the second period and the Los Angeles Kings beat the San Jose Sharks 4-2 on Saturday night.
Jeff Carter also scored and Jonathan Quick made 26 saves as the Kings beat the Sharks for just the second time in eight meetings this season.
”We all create so many chances,” Athanasiou said. ”It’s a little crazy how many chances we’ve had and empty nets we’ve missed. It’s just the way it goes sometimes. Those bounces went our way tonight.”
Dylan Gambrell and Timo Meier scored for the Sharks, who now trail St. Louis by four points for the fourth and final playoff spot from the West Division. Arizona is three points ahead of the Sharks for fifth place.
Martin Jones came in 19-5-3 against Los Angeles in his career – including 6-1 this season – but gave up four goals on 19 shots through two periods. Josef Korenar stopped all seven shots he faced in the third in his NHL debut.
With the score 1-1 after the first period, Athanasiou and Iafallo scored 55 seconds apart early in the second, and then Brown beat Jones for a power play goal with 7.8 seconds left in the period to give the Kings a 4-1 cushion.
Jones’ strong play was the driving force behind San Jose’s recent push that has propelled the team into the playoff hunt. But Jones perhaps showed a bit of fatigue Saturday in his seventh consecutive start, and defensive lapses by his teammates didn’t help.
”I guess we just had breakdowns,” Sharks defenseman Mario Ferraro said. ”We weren’t disciplined enough back there, playing with enough detail. You let that slide, you give them enough chances and (they’re going to) put it in the back of the net.”
Carter scored his eighth goal at 11:43 of the first to give Los Angeles a 1-0 lead. But the Sharks evened the score five minutes later on Gambrell’s goal.
The Sharks traded backup goalie Devan Dubnyk to Colorado on Saturday for defenseman Greg Pateryn and a fifth-round pick in this year’s draft. That opened the door for Korenar to get called up.
Dubnyk, 34, had been strongly rumored as a trade candidate, and he gives the Avalanche a backup goalie with postseason experience.
The Kings, who had lost seven of nine before Saturday, are currently six points out of a playoff spot with 16 games left. Athanasiou said they haven’t conceded anything yet.
”It’s a perfect time to get hot,” he said. ”You never know with the way the structure is this year, and every team playing each other so much. It’s the time to get hot. You gotta get rolling.”
Kings: Host the first of back-to-back games against the Vegas Golden Knights on Monday.
Sharks: Host the Anaheim Ducks on Monday, beginning a string of 16 games in 27 days to finish the regular season.
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