Jonathan Quick earned his NHL-leading fourth shutout in his 200th regular-season game, Ethan Moreau ended a 58-game goal drought with his first since October 2009, and the Los Angeles Kings beat the San Jose Sharks 2-0 on Monday night.
Quick made 33 saves, coming up big numerous times during two San Jose power plays in the final 4 1/2 minutes of the second period en route to his 18th career shutout. Mike Richards, in the fourth season of a 12-year, $69 million contract extension, scored his ninth goal in 10 games and 12th overall.
The Sharks, who outshot Vancouver 45-27 in a 3-2 home loss on Saturday, were shut out for the third time this season. Antti Niemi made 31 saves.
Niemi stopped 15 of 16 shots in the first period. The only goal was scored on a wrist shot from a sharp angle to the left of the net by Moreau that caromed in off Niemi’s glove. The 16-year veteran, who had a career-high 20 goals in 2003-04 with Edmonton, signed a one-year contract with the Kings in August after spending last season with Columbus.
The teams were skating 4-on-4 when Richards made it 2-0 at 4:16 of the second. Simon Gagne, reunited on a line with his former Philadelphia Flyers teammate for this game, got the puck down low from defenseman Willie Mitchell and circled the net before setting up Richards at the edge of the crease.
Kings captain Dustin Brown, who shifted from right wing to left wing on a line with Anze Kopitar and Trent Hunter, didn’t have a shot on net through the first two periods before his apparent short-handed goal at 6:01 of the third was disallowed following a video review.
Brown carried the puck through the neutral zone, stickhandled around Justin Braun in the left circle and moved into the slot for a shot that was stopped by Niemi. Teammate Slava Voynov took a whack at the rebound, then made a kicking motion at the same time Brown got his stick on the puck and put it past the sprawling goalie.
NOTES: Quick’s other shutouts this season came in consecutive starts last month against St. Louis, Phoenix and Dallas. … Sharks C Michal Handzus, back at Staples Center for the first time since leaving the Kings and signing a two-year, $5 million contract with San Jose in July 1, was scratched for the first time this season, due to illness. … The Kings’ earned their 1,400th regular-season victory. … Los Angeles is 1 for 18 on the power play over five games after scoring at least once with the man advantage in six straight games. That streak began in a 4-2 loss at San Jose on Nov. 7. … Niemi was 5-0 with a 1.20 goals-against average in his previous five starts before back-to-back losses to the Canucks and Kings. … The Sharks, who have won four straight Pacific Division titles, eliminated the Kings in the first round of last season’s playoffs.