SAN JOSE -- Backup goalie Alex Stalock would have needed a third consecutive shutout Monday night for the Sharks to pick up even a single point.
He came close, but a goal late in the second period by Anze Kopitar was all the Los Angeles Kings needed to beat San Jose 1-0, snapping the Sharks' six-game winning streak and reversing a trend that had seen the home team go 19-0-1 in the previous 20 games between the Pacific Division rivals.
The lack of much offense by either team came as no surprise.
"We've played them enough over the last couple years to know it's defense first on both teams, and scoring's going to be hard to come by," Sharks captain Joe Thornton said.
Added Kings coach Darryl Sutter: "We don't score many goals, so we have to limit opportunities."
Not that it was much consolation to Stalock, but by keeping the Kings off the scoreboard until Kopitar's goal at 17:56 of the second period, the Sharks netminder did set a franchise shutout streak at 178:55 that included victories over the Florida Panthers and Winnipeg Jets.
The goal that beat him was a case of a well-intentioned attempt to break up a play contributing to the defeat, as Brent Burns fully extended himself to get a stick on a centering pass from Jeff Carter to Kopitar.
"I had the poke check out before the pass even got knocked down," said Stalock, who stopped the other 20 shots he faced. "But with the puck getting knocked down, (Kopitar) was kind of able to stop and slow everything down, so I was caught out there."
The teams entered the game going in opposite directions, with the Sharks having opened up a 10-point gap over a Los Angeles team that was 0-4-1 in its previous five games.
The Kings have had trouble scoring over that stretch, but Sharks coach Todd McLellan was wary of the Los Angeles defense that would keep San Jose bottled up with only nine shots through two periods.
The very first of those shots, however, appeared to be earmarked for the back of the Los Angeles net at 1:43 of the first period, when Bracken Kearns got the puck right in front of an open Kings net, then put his backhand shot right into Jonathan Quick's extended glove.
"It was one of those that I got it up, but he made a heck of a save," Kearns said. "I thought maybe if I'm a little more patient I can put it home, but that hurt. That hurt a lot."
The Sharks offense did come alive in the third period, generating 14 shots including a handful that challenged Quick. The Kings goalie might have made his biggest saves on Joe Pavelski at 7:36 and on a shot through traffic right at the final buzzer by Dan Boyle.
But whatever momentum the Sharks were building was slowed by a four-minute high-sticking penalty to Pavelski, whose stick clipped Kopitar at 10:08.
"It's tough. Obviously that's four minutes that no longer are left in the period," Tommy Wingels said, noting the team probably isn't "going to get grade-A scoring chances four-on-five."
Stalock's shutout streak broke the franchise record of 171:18 set by Evgeni Nabokov in a stretch of games between Jan. 20 and Jan. 31, 2009.
Sharks (34-13-6) at Edmonton (17-32-6), 6:30 p.m. CSNCA