Kopitar powers Kings past Sharks for another road win
The Kings improved to 13-1-1 on the road, the best mark in the NHL. Trevor Moore got his team-leading 15th goal, Alex Laferriere also scored and Trevor Lewis added an empty-netter for Los Angeles. Kevin Fiala had two assists.
“I guess we just have a little mojo on the road," said Arthur Kaliyev, who assisted on Kopitar's goal.
Kings coach Todd McLellan said his team plays a simpler game on the road than at home, where Los Angeles is 5-5-3.
“We hand off good shifts,” McLellan said. “Sometimes when we’re home, we play in pieces. We extend things. We get a little too cute. So we’ve got to take this road game and put it in play it at (home)."
David Rittich made 14 saves in his Kings debut and nearly completed the shutout. The veteran goalie was called up from the AHL after backup Pheonix Copley was placed on long-term injured reserve Sunday.
Rittich, who was 9-8-1 in 21 games last season with Winnipeg, credited his teammates for the win.
"Obviously, it was great — how the guys showed up from the first minute, from puck drop, it was amazing," Rittich said. “They blocked a lot of shots. They did a lot of great things. This one’s on them because they played really well.”
McLellan said Rittich was “highly thought of” coming out of training camp. The 31-year-old will now back up starter Cam Talbot.
“We felt we had three goaltenders that can play at any time,” McLellan said. “And tonight, all he did was increase our confidence in him, and he in us, and that’s a good sign.”
Los Angeles took a 3-0 lead in the second period with goals 67 seconds apart by Moore and Laferriere. Moore’s goal came on a breakaway at 4:07, set up by a spinning pass from Fiala in the neutral zone. Laferriere then tipped in a shot from the point by Jordan Spence.
Kaapo Kahkonen made 35 saves for the Sharks, who dropped their third straight. San Jose had won six of its past eight home games.
Jacob MacDonald scored for the Sharks with just more than a minute left.
San Jose coach David Quinn liked his team's game in the first period but said “we stunk for two periods.”
“They were quicker and played with more conviction,” Quinn said. "(They were) more physical, and that second goal really deflated us.”
Kopitar got his 13th of the season on the power play late in the first to give the Kings a 1-0 lead. The captain found an opening at the side of the net after a shot by Fiala deflected behind the goal. With Kahkonen out of position, Kaliyev quickly found Kopitar, who tapped in the puck before Kahkonen could recover from the other side.
“They’re one of the best teams on the road and you can see why," Sharks forward Tomáš Hertl said. "They come in hard on every puck. They moved really quickly on us and there just wasn’t much.”
Anthony Duclair returned to the Sharks' lineup after he was a healthy scratch Sunday at Colorado for the first time since the 2022 playoffs.
Kings: Host the Seattle Kraken on Wednesday night.
Sharks: Host the Arizona Coyotes on Thursday night.
AP NHL: https://www.apnews.com/hub/NHL