Kings find themselves in win over Sharks
How many players does it take to solve an identity crisis?
On this night, at least four players helped the Kings get there with meaningful contributions in their 4-1 victory over the San Jose Sharks at SAP Center. It was their first road game of the season and the four goals scored happened to be a season-high and avenged a rough loss to the Sharks in their season opener Oct. 7.
Back to solving the identity crisis …
There were Jeff Carter’s four points leading the way on Thursday night, two goals and two assists. The four points in a game tied a career high for Carter.
His second goal was on the power play via a wild bounce off the glass, coming down and banking in off the leg of Sharks goalie Martin Jones at 9:35 of the third period, making the score, 4-1.
“I think it was big for us to come in and prove ourselves,” Carter said. “I don’t know if that’s the right word. But we pretty much had to — they pretty much ran over us in Game 1.”
Another show-stopping moment came in the first period and was crafted by Tyler Toffoli, who deked and feinted and simply confused the heck out of his good friend and former teammate, Jones.
Toffoli maneuvered past the goal line, pulled it back and tucked the puck inside the left post, making it 1-0 at 11:37 of the first period.
“I knew Carts [Carter] and [Lucic] were jumping up in the rush. I kind of made Joner [Jones] think there was going to be a pass maybe. I think it just opened things up for me. I almost toe-picked, my first move, and I think I blacked out from there.”
He has scored in three straight games, tying a career high. Of the Kings’ 10 goals this season, Toffoli has scored four of them.
Milan Lucic scored his first goal as a King and backup goalie Jhonas Enroth secured his first win in his first start with the Kings. He faced 40 shots in all, including 30 shots through the first 40 minutes.
Of late, Kings Coach Darryl Sutter has gone back to the word “identity,” and he did it again after the morning skate.
“We’re finding our work ethic again and our identity again,” Sutter said.
The only one to get past Enroth was Joel Ward, who converted a centering pass from Joe Pavelski, at 15:06 of the second period, cutting the Kings’ lead to 3-1.
“I figured they were going to come out pretty hard and try to shoot from everywhere since I haven’t played yet,” Enroth said. “That’s what they did. I was ready for that. ... Obviously it’s a great feeling.”
He was sharp from the start, seeing the puck well and being strong in his position. With the Kings playing on back-to-back nights, Coach Darryl Sutter opted to put Enroth in against the Sharks and is set to go with No. 1 goalie Jonathan Quick on Friday.
The day was eventful for the Kings. Rookie defenseman Derek Forbort left the ice early in the morning skate and was said to be under the weather, the team said. Defenseman Jamie McBain was recalled from the Kings’ minor league affiliate in Ontario and arrived in San Jose a few hours before game time.
UP NEXT FOR THE KINGS
Friday vs. Carolina
On the air: TV: Fox Sports West. Radio: 790.
Etc: The Hurricanes practiced in El Segundo on Thursday while the Kings were in San Jose. Carolina on Thursday called up defenseman Brett Pesce from its American Hockey League affiliate in Charlotte, N.C.
Go beyond the scoreboard
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