The Kings blew a two-goal lead and lost to the San Jose Sharks, 3-2, Wednesday night in a game that will be long remembered for a momentum-changing second-period brawl.
After Sean O’Donnell and Ray Ferraro scored to give the Kings a 2-0 lead, the Sharks rallied after a fight for which eight players were ejected to defeat the Kings before a sellout San Jose Arena crowd of 17,442.
It was the third time in a row that the Sharks have beaten the Kings.
Ron Sutter scored the game-winning goal with 4:35 to play after the Sharks tied the game on goals by Jeff Friesen and Viktor Kozlov.
The brawl was triggered by a cheap-shot check by the Sharks’ Andrei Nazarov on King goalie Stephane Fiset early in the second period.
The Kings’ Matt Johnson retaliated when Nazarov returned to the ice after serving a two-minute charging penalty. Johnson crushed Nazarov against the Kings’ end boards and then gave him an extra shot while Nazarov was face down on the ice. San Jose’s Al Iafrate then charged Johnson from behind.
When the five-minute fight was over, the teams combined for 157 penalty minutes, with the Kings’ Dan Bylsma, Mattias Norstrom, Barry Potomski and Johnson being ejected, and the Sharks’ Greg Hawgood, Owen Nolan, Iafrate and Nazarov getting tossed.
The Kings already had to play without injured forwards Ian Laperriere, who sat out his second consecutive game because of a hip injury, and Yanic Perreault, who injured his back in a 3-2 victory at Calgary on Monday.
Also missing were defensemen Aki Berg and Doug Zmolek, who did not play because of a concussion and an irregular heartbeat, respectively.
In an unusual first period, neither team scored or was called for a penalty. The Sharks had six shots on goal and held the Kings to only two, which matched a season-low for a period.
Calgary limited the Kings to the same number on Thanksgiving Day.
The Kings wasted little time making the most of their third shot when O’Donnell scored his first goal of the season from the left circle at 1:03. Yachmenev set up the goal with a cross-ice assist from the right circle. O’Donnell beat San Jose goalie Kelly Hrudey to the lower left side of the net to give the Kings a 1-0 lead.
Ferraro then gave the Kings a 2-0 lead at 7:14 when he deflected in O’Donnell’s slap shot for a power-play goal. It was the Kings’ third power-play score in their last two games.
Trailing by two goals, Nazarov got the Sharks fired up when he knocked down Fiset and, after the ensuing brawl, San Jose’s comeback began.
Friesen scored the Sharks’ first goal when he poked in a Tony Granato rebound with four seconds to play in the second period.
“We lost the game when we gave up that first goal with four seconds to go in the second period,” King Coach Larry Robinson said. “We made a soft play in the corner and that was it. San Jose was going nowhere.”
Kozlov tied the game, 2-2, with a goal from the left circle 1:52 into the third period.