The Los Angeles Kings scored three goals in the second period in a 4-2 win against the San Jose Sharks at SAP Center in San Jose, California, on Saturday.
Jeff Carter, Andreas Athanasiou and Dustin Brown each had a goal and an assist, and Jonathan Quick made 26 saves for the Kings (16-18-6), who split the back-to-back set in San Jose after the Sharks won 5-2 Friday.
Los Angeles has won two of three after going 1-6-0 in the previous seven games.
“It’s the perfect time to get hot,” Athanasiou said. “You never know [about making the Stanley Cup Playoffs] with the way the structure is this year and every team playing each other so much, so it’s time to get hot and that’s pretty much it. You got to get rolling.”
The top four teams in each of the NHL’s four divisions qualify for the playoffs. The Kings are in seventh place in the eight-team Honda West Division, six points behind the fourth-place St. Louis Blues. The Sharks are in sixth place, four points behind the Blues.
Dylan Gambrell and Timo Meier scored for the Sharks (18-18-4), who had won five straight against the Kings. Martin Jones allowed four goals on 19 shots in two periods. He was replaced by Josef Korenar, who made seven saves in his NHL debut.
“Our team was completely flat in the second period,” Sharks coach Bob Boughner said. “It looked like we just needed some kind of injection of some energy, and I was hoping that the kid [Korenar] being in his first game we’d play a little harder around him and maybe rally around him a little bit. But the game was lost in the second period.”
The Kings took a 2-1 lead at 2:28 of the second when Athanasiou tipped in Carter’s centering pass.
Alex Iafallo made it 3-1 at 3:23 when Anze Kopitar found him charging to the net to score on a backhand. Iafallo has scored in consecutive games.
“I think we just let off the gas a little bit in general, kind of lost a bit of our structure and they took advantage of it,” Gambrell said of the goals 55 seconds apart.
Brown made it 4-1 at 19:52 with his ninth power-play goal.
“I feel like most nights we’re getting a lot of chances,” Athanasiou said. “We just had some real unlucky bounces and unfortunate puck luck, but today it kind of worked out and the chances we did get we just capitalized on them, so that was a good feeling.”
Meier scored 14 seconds into a power play, pulling the Sharks within 4-2 at 12:31 of the third period.
Carter put the Kings ahead 1-0 at 11:43 of the first period, jamming in the rebound of Mikey Anderson‘s shot from the point that had been redirected by Athanasiou.
Gambrell scored for the second straight game to tie it 1-1 at 16:54. Quick thought he had covered up Christian Jaros‘ shot that had been tipped by John Leonard, but Gambrell chipped in the loose puck. He has three goals in his past four games.
“We had chances early on in the game, being up on the power play to sort of cement a lead. We didn’t, and they got better as the game went on and we went the other way,” Boughner said.
NOTES: Kings defenseman Olli Maatta had an assist and blocked three shots in 19:10 after missing nine games with an upper-body injury. … Los Angeles forward Blake Lizotte played his 100th NHL game. … Gambrell has five goals in 36 games, matching his total last season in 50 games. … San Jose was 2-for-22 (9.0 percent) on the power play in eight games against Los Angeles but won the season series 6-2-0. … The Sharks acquired defenseman Greg Pateryn and a fifth-round pick in the 2021 NHL Draft in a trade with the Colorado Avalanche for goalie Devan Dubnyk on Saturday.