Clifford’s 2 Goals Help Kings Beat Sharks 5-2
LOS ANGELES (CBS/AP) — Kyle Clifford recorded his first two-goal game in the NHL, and Justin Williams, Jarret Stoll and Dwight King also scored as the Los Angeles Kings beat the San Jose Sharks 5-2 on Saturday night.
Jonathan Bernier stopped 21 shots for the defending Stanley Cup champions in the opener of a five-game homestand, including a penalty shot by Tommy Wingels at 7:58 of the second period. Bernier has won six of his seven starts.
Antti Niemi stopped 14 of 18 shots and was pulled by coach Todd McLellan after Clifford scored his second of the game and fourth of the season during a goal-mouth scramble at 13:45 of the second period.
Patrick Marleau and Matt Irwin scored for the Sharks. Niemi allowed more than three goals for only the third time in 23 starts this season. The other two were against the Chicago Blackhawks, who have the league’s best record.
San Jose went more than 11 minutes before getting its first shot and fell behind 2-0 in a rematch of Thursday’s 4-3 home win.
Clifford scored on the first shot of the game, beating Niemi through the pads from a sharp angle at 2:27 of the penalty-free first period after Slava Voynov faked a slap shot from the high slot and found Clifford in the right circle.
Williams was credited with his fourth goal at 12:19 when he got the rebound of his shot and inadvertently banked the puck into the net off defenseman Brad Stewart while trying to pass it to Dustin Brown.
Marleau got San Jose on the board 35 seconds into the second period with his fifth goal in 22 games, following a season-opening, five-game streak in which he scored nine times.
Brent Burns, who has four points in three games since coming off the injured list and shifting from defenseman to right wing on the Sharks’ top line, circled the net with the puck and fed it in front to Joe Thornton. The Sharks’ captain fanned on the shot, but the puck glanced off the skate of Kings forward Anze Kopitar, and Marleau whipped it past Bernier.
The game marked the NHL debut of Tyler Toffoli, a second-round pick by the Kings in 2010. The 20-year-old center tried to disrupt a second-period breakaway by Wingels, but slashed the blade of his stick. Wingels was awarded a penalty shot but Bernier gloved the drive.
Stoll made it 3-1 at 11:15 of the second on a short backhand through Niemi’s legs. King scored against backup goalie Alex Stalock on a snap shot from the slot at 18:56 of the second for a 5-1 advantage.
The Sharks have scored no more than three goals in 21 of their last 22 games. Thornton has only two during that stretch, after scoring in three consecutive games in late January.
Michal Handzus has one goal in 27 games this season, and only three in his last 46 games.
NOTES: The Sharks are 28-26-5 with three ties in regular-season games against clubs that were trying to defend a Stanley Cup championship, and 4-8 in the postseason. … Clifford has 16 goals in 184 career games. … Clifford’s fight with Douglas Murray at 1:27 of the second produced the game’s only penalties during the first two periods. … San Jose began a five-game road trip that goes through Edmonton and Minnesota and includes two games against the Anaheim Ducks. … Marleau hasn’t scored in his last nine games against the Ducks.
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