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HELENE ELLIOTT

Kings defeat Sharks in shootout, 4-3

Dustin Brown's goal in the fifth round of the shootout lifts L.A. into fifth place in West.

March 24, 2011|Helene Elliott
  • Kings captain Dustin Brown, left, scores the winning goal past San Jose goalie Antti Niemi in the shootout in the Kings' 4-3 victory Thursday at Staples Center.
Kings captain Dustin Brown, left, scores the winning goal past San Jose… (Victor Decolongon / Getty…)

Every game is an adventure that rearranges the absurdly congested Western Conference standings.

The Kings added to the chaos Thursday with a 4-3 victory over the San Jose Sharks, earning two valuable points in a five-round shootout decided when Dustin Brown rifled a hard shot past goaltender Antti Niemi and Kings goalie Jonathan Quick stymied Patrick Marleau.

"No one thought it would be this tight," said Brown, who had scored twice in regulation, the second time with 1:42 to go in the third period. "With eight, nine games left you've still got 10 teams in it legitimately, and every game is a roller coaster."

The Kings couldn't hold third-period leads of 2-1 and 3-2, as the Sharks pulled even with 4.1 seconds left on Marleau's second goal of the period. It's a measure of their expectations that they grumbled about that.

"I thought we played a good game from start to finish. Granted, we need to find a way to lock it up, especially late," Brown said. "Especially that third goal that they tied it up on…. It seemed like it was just a ping-pong ball out there going all over the place, and good players find good areas."

But the Kings couldn't be too upset, not after tying a club record by earning their 42nd win in their 74th game and getting a rousing ovation from the announced crowd of 18,118, their Staples Center-record 31st sellout crowd this season.

The Kings enjoyed the thrill ride to fifth place in the West thanks to Brown, who also made a diving clearing pass while the Kings were killing a penalty in the third period, and to Quick, who is 9-0 in shootouts this season and 21-7 in his career.

"He played very hard, very intense," Kings Coach Terry Murray said of Brown. "That's a big part of a captain's responsibility, not only to be a good player but to lead the way with intensity and compete and put the extra effort in to help a team get the job done."

Quick was beaten in the shootout only by Dan Boyle's controversial slowdown goal in the first round, in which the Sharks defenseman decelerated dramatically and moved wide to the right before lifting the puck over a prone Quick. Kings Coach Terry Murray protested the goal, saying Boyle had not continued moving the puck forward, but the goal was allowed to stand.

Quick said he wasn't sure what happened.

"Maybe I got a piece of it. I'm not positive," he said. "It's a good move, a creative move. I think that's what the league wants, a little excitement there in the shootout. I guess you have to watch the video. At the end of the day it doesn't matter. We won the shootout."

They fell behind early in the second period on Joe Pavelski's redirection of a Marleau pass during a power play, ending the Kings' penalty-killing streak at 35.

But Brown's first goal, scored during a power play at 7:18 of the second period on a nice feed from Michal Handzus, pulled them even. And Willie Mitchell put them ahead on 45-foot blast off a clever pass from Oscar Moller, who was playing his first game since being recalled to replace the injured Justin Williams.

That lead stood until Marleau made it 2-2 at 16:28 of the third period, going outside on Drew Doughty for a 40-foot shot. Brown's quick score at 18:18, with Joe Thornton in the penalty box, gave the Kings a lift that lasted until Marleau brought them down to earth.

But it all worked out in the end for the Kings, with Stoll matching Boyle's shootout goal and no one succeeding until Brown fired a wrist shot past Niemi. When Marleau couldn't beat Quick, the Kings erupted in glee.

"That's a big point that we let them get there at the end of the game. That's a little disappointing," Quick said. "We had the lead and we let them get a point out of it but they're a good team, they're going to make good plays. You move on."

To another roller coaster ride, most likely.

helene.elliott@latimes.com

twitter.com/helenenothelen

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