SAN JOSE – It’s never an easy task for the Sharks when they play the Los Angeles Kings, and Monday night’s matchup with the SoCal rival was no exception. Nevertheless, San Jose held on to register a 3-1 victory and a third win in a row.
Here are three takeaways from Monday’s game:
Third line stays hot: That Evander Kane–Tomas Hertl–Joonas Donskoi line we’ve written about a lot over the last few games? They continued rolling right along on Monday evening, providing the scoring momentum for the home team. Donskoi did an amazing job cleaning up a rebound of Kane’s shot to tally San Jose’s first goal, and Hertl’s backhanded marker in the second was absolutely filthy.
When NBC Sports California caught up with Donskoi last week, the Finnish forward admitted he wasn’t sure why the combination was so hot.
“It’s been clicking, I don’t know why but it’s been clicking,” he said.
Whatever the winning formula is, it’s certainly been the straw that stirs the Sharks’ drink these days.
Erik Karlsson is the ultimate set-up guy: Karlsson may as well have been an extension of the Hertl line on Monday night the way he was setting up their goals. He assisted on Donskoi and Hertl's goals -- as well as Joe Thornton's empty-net tally with the clock winding down -– making him the first skater in Sharks history to score points in 13 straight appearances.
There may be fans out there still wanting to see Karlsson score more goals, but there’s no denying his passing prowess is a major shot in the arm to San Jose’s offense. His work setting up plays all the way back in the Sharks’ defensive zone – like he did when he set up Hertl’s second-period backhander – is a game-changer.
Martin Jones had another nice outing: The Sharks as a collective group have progressively played better as their season has gone on, and their starting netminder is no exception. Jones has been making saves at very important times for the Sharks, some of them during the third period Monday night as the Kings tried to tie the game up.
Jones even got on the scoreboard, registering the secondary assist on Hertl’s goal. It was the first assist he’s tallied with the Sharks and the third of his career. Those first two apples, of course, came while he was playing for the same Kings team he held to just one goal on Monday evening.