In their first trip to Northern California this season, the LA Kings were embarrassed by their division and inter-state rivals.
The Sharks made history and took two crucial points away from the Kings.
Here are three things recapping the loss:
SJS: Timo Meier (17), Assists: Brent Burns (24), Rudolfs Balcers (9)
SJS: Timo Meier (18), Assists: Tomas Hertl (13)
LAK: Anze Kopitar (12), Unassisted
SJS: Timo Meier (19), Assists: Tomas Hertl (14), Erik Karlsson (17)
SJS: Timo Meier (20), Assists: Erik Karlsson (18), Tomas Hertl (15)
Shots on Goal:
Faceoff Percentage (%):
1. Timo Meier makes franchise history in San Jose
Not necessarily one of the highlights of the game that you would hope for as a Kings fan, but Timo Meier just absolutely beat down on Jonathan Quick and the rest of the team today. He’s already been tearing it up in NorCal all season long and was the Sharks’ 2022 All-Star Game nomination, and he added FIVE more goals to his statline today.
Meier’s offensive explosion marked the first time in Sharks franchise history that a player has registered five goals or more in a game. It makes it even worse when you find out he had a hat-trick in the first period, becoming the 11th Shark ever to record a single-period hat-trick.
Meier is only the second player in NHL history to record five goals against the Kings, joining Alex Zhamnov, who did it in 1995 for the Winnipeg Jets.
Along with his five goals, Meier finished with six shots on goal and one blocked shot through 15:36 time on ice.
Luckily, the Kings won’t have to deal with him again until March 10th. Breathe a sigh of relief.
2. Poor Jonathan Quick…
Jonathan Quick has returned to his prime this season. He’s singlehandedly won games for the LA Kings, he’s been a top goaltender in the NHL, and he has a serious chance at winning his first career Vezina trophy at the age of 35. That being said, he got left out of dry today.
Quick faced 17 shots, six went in, which adds up to a .647 save percentage and a -4.31 goals saved above expected (GSAx), both of which were single-game season lows for him.
Quick’s numbers going into this game were a .921 save percentage and 13.57 GSAx, those have since fallen to a .915 save percentage and 9.26 GSAx. He still has some absurd numbers, but they’ve taken a drastically big hit.
I should point out that it was also a rough game defensively. The LA Kings allowed two power play goals to a Sharks team who have been abysmal on special teams this season, plus some offensive zone turnovers including Viktor Arvidsson’s which led to a goal, and Matt Roy not being able to pick up a loose puck in the crease.
The blame shouldn’t all be on Quick, but he needed to come up with a big save or two at some point in this game to keep the Kings in it.
3. Kings offense struggling without Kempe
The LA Kings have been without Adrian Kempe for two games now due to the league’s COVID-19 protocols, and in both, the team has failed to produce quality offense that is up to their standards compared to this season. Watching the Kings in the offensive zone these past two games have been like the final few hours on a Sunday evening: dreadful and uneventful, and I think a big part of that is due to Kempe’s absence.
Today for example, the Kings had just 2.067 xGF after the first two periods, which doesn’t sound too bad until you realize that they had 30 shots on goal. When you’re getting that quantity of pucks to the net, you need to focus on the quality as well, or else it’s all for nothing when you’re going up against a goaltender like James Reimer, who has had himself a solid little season in San Jose.
I mean, it shouldn’t necessarily be a surprise that the Kings are struggling without Kempe when you consider the fact that he leads the team in goals (17), shots on goal (114), is second in points (24), and third in even-strength offensive goals above replacement (EVO_GAR) with 3.90.
The Kings tried to fill the skillful wingers role with Samuel Fagemo, and while he looked good for the first half of the first period, I didn’t seem to notice him much afterwards, as he got tired pretty quickly as the game got out of hand.
Hoping we see Kempe back sooner rather than later, and get back to watching an eventful top-six core in Los Angeles.