LOS ANGELES--The San Jose Sharks' fate in the Staples Center went from bad to worse Thursday night.
The home team's dominance in San Jose's series with the Los Angeles Kings continued for a 15th game, as the Sharks became rookie goalie Martin Jones' latest victim, losing 4-1. But this time the Sharks also had to deal with the fact that Tomas Hertl--their own star rookie--had to leave the game after knee-on-knee contact late in the first period with Los Angeles captain Dustin Brown.
Brown was given a five-minute major penalty and a game misconduct. There was no immediate word on the extent of the damage to Hertl's right knee.
A goal by Patrick Marleau in his 1,200th game with just 2:10 left in the game did enable the Sharks to avoid being Jones' fourth shutout victim but had to be little consolation.
San Jose hasn't won in the Staples Center since April 5, 2012, a stretch that includes four losses in the playoffs last spring. Los Angeles hasn't won in San Jose since even longer, Dec. 27, 2010.
Until the loss of Hertl, most of the attention was on Jones, who has not given up a goal in three home games until Marleau scored. Jones is now 7-0 in the NHL with three shutouts after being brought up from the AHL when starter Jonathan Quick injured his groin on Nov. 12.
The first period was relatively uneventful until the final 75 seconds when Brown didn't change his path and ended up making knee-on-knee contact with Hertl near the San Jose blue line.
Hertl, who leads all NHL rookies with 15 goals and 24 points, immediately headed to the locker room and did not return.
While the action was continuing, the Sharks looked as if they might have scored a goal, but officials ruled that Brent Burns had interfered with Jones, and the period remained scoreless.
The Kings killed off the three-minute San Jose power play that followed, then got on the scoreboard first at 5:26 of the second period when Alec Martinez's 58-foot one-timer knuckled its way past Niemi.
San Jose fell behind 2-0 at 11:15 of the middle period when Kings defenseman Slava Voynov fired a pass through two zones to Tyler Toffoli at the Sharks blue line. He skated in all alone on Niemi, then beat Niemi on the far side with a wrist shot from the right faceoff circle.
The Sharks finally tested Jones late in the same period on a play that mirrored one of San Jose's goals in St. Louis on Tuesday night when a shot bounced off the end boards to Joe Pavelski just to the left of the Kings goalie.
But this time the puck bounced over Pavelski's stick. And when Tommy Wingels then caught Jones out of position on a wraparound try, the puck went toward the back of the net off the netminder's pads, but Jones managed to get a glove on it before it crossed the line.
Los Angeles boosted its lead to 3-0 just 36 seconds into the third period when Jeff Carter was unchecked at the side of the San Jose net and easily redirected a pass from Dwight King past Niemi.
Dwight King himself got the fourth Kings goal at 6:16, potting a loose puck that caromed around the front of the net after a shot by defenseman Robyn Regehr.
--Sharks forward Tyler Kennedy's status as a healthy scratch lasted only one game, as coach Todd McLellan used him at left wing on the fourth line Thursday night.
"Obviously I need to be better in my own end," Kennedy said after being kept out of San Jose's 4-2 victory in St. Louis on Tuesday night. "That's the biggest thing, making sure I follow the systems. I kind of got away from it for a couple games there, not following the systems."
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