Sharks head into All-Star break with win over Kings

Marcio Jose Sanchez/APThe Sharks' Logan Couture (39) scores on Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick during the first period of Wednesday's game.

Marcio Jose Sanchez/APThe Sharks' Logan Couture (39) scores on Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick during the first period of Wednesday's game.

SAN JOSE — Patrick Marleau and Joe Pavelski scored power-play goals to send the San Jose Sharks into the NHL All-Star break on a winning note with a 4-2 victory over the Los Angeles Kings on Wednesday night.

Logan Couture scored twice for the Sharks, who had lost five of their previous six home games. Antti Niemi made 15 of his 26 saves in the third period.

Dustin Brown and Jeff Carter scored for the Kings, who have lost seven of eight, although four came after regulation. Jonathan Quick made 21 saves.

With the teams locked in a one-goal game in the third period, Pavelski gave the Sharks some needed insurance after Drew Doughty negated a Los Angeles power play by high-sticking Couture.

The Sharks put pressure on Quick, who came out of his net to stop a shot by Marleau. Pavelski got to the rebound and knocked it in the open net for the 5,000th regular-season goal in San Jose history.

Carter scored a power-play goal with 22.4 seconds to play but Couture got credit for an empty-net goal when he was hooked in the closing seconds to seal it.

The Sharks blew chances to build on a 1-0 lead when they failed to get shots off on a pair of 2-on-1 rushes, and Quick stopped Couture on a breakaway. That proved costly when the Kings got the equalizer midway through the second on a wraparound by Brown.

Quick kept frustrating San Jose with a spectacular save on a redirect attempt by Pavelski, but he was unable to do it again with San Jose on the power play late in the period.

Marleau got in front of the net and redirected Couture's shot past Quick to give San Jose a 2-1 lead. It was just the second goal in 20 games for Marleau and his first on the power play since Nov. 8.

Doughty, upset about being sent to the box for tripping Pavelski, kept up his argument with the officials when he returned after the goal.

The Kings made their only trip of the regular season to the Shark Tank and first since completing the comeback from a 3-0 series deficit by winning Game 7 of the first round here last April.

That sent Los Angeles on its way to a second Stanley Cup title in three seasons and San Jose to a summer of soul-searching. Both teams have been inconsistent so far this season and fighting for playoff position in the tough Western Conference.

San Jose goes into the break in second place in the Pacific Division with 56 points. Los Angeles is in fifth with 52 and would be out of the playoffs if the season ended now.

There was good energy from the start with fans starting the “Beat L.A.!” chants before opening faceoff, and Los Angeles' Kyle Clifford getting into an early scrap with Brenden Dillon.

Shortly after that fight, Couture gave San Jose the lead when he skated past Alec Martinez and beat Quick with a shot to the short side for his 17th goal.

NOTES: It was “Metallica Night” with members of the band on hand to drop the opening puck and take part in other events. … Niemi got his second assist of the season and seventh in his career on Couture's goal. … The teams will play once more in the Bay Area next month in an outdoor game at Levi's Stadium.

HockeyLos Angeles KingsPatrick MarleauSan Jose Sharks

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