LOS ANGELES — If the Kings hope to finish their playoff surge and make a dent in the postseason, they’ll need to make the most of their opportunities.
They came into the Thursday night's game against the San Jose Sharks ranked 20th in the league in power-play efficiency, and owning a string of 14 consecutive unsuccessful man-advantage situations.
But the power play was the difference against the Sharks, as Kings captain Dustin Brown scored two huge goals with the man advantage, then put the Kings over the top with a shootout goal that clinched the 4-3 victory at Staples Center.
"We got an ugly goal early and maybe that's the spark we needed," Brown sad. "It's nice to get some power-play goals and we need to build on that because, coming down the stretch here and into the playoffs, power plays can win you games and win your series. That's probably one of the more important things."
Brown's first power-play goal was set up when rookie defenseman Alec Martinez dumped the puck into the San Jose zone. Kings left wing Alexei Ponikarovsky got to the puck first and chipped it back over to Brown, who was camped near the right post. Brown dug the puck out from behind the net and shoved it past San Jose goalkeeper Annti Niemi to tie the score, 1-1, with about 13 minutes remaining in the second period.
His second goal was even bigger, as the Sharks had tied the score, 2-2, with 3 ½ minutes remaining in the game. Less than two minutes later, after Joe Thornton had gone to the penalty box for interference, Brown took a pass from Michal Handzus and drilled it past Niemi for a 3-2 lead.
It wouldn't hold up, however. Patrick Marleau scored his second goal of the game with 4.1 seconds left, sending the game into overtime. That just gave Brown one more chance to be the hero, and he buried his shootout attempt into the net. Marleau then missed wide on the other end and the Kings claimed the victory, keeping them in fifth place in the Western Conference standings.
They also moved to within five points of San Jose for the Pacific Division lead. The Kings are now 6-0-2 in their last eight against Pacific Division foes.