SAN JOSE, Calif. — The blockbuster trade that sent Erik Karlsson to the San Jose Sharks during the offseason didn't pay immediate dividends. But the two-time Norris Trophy winner has emerged as one of the team's most impactful players lately.
Karlsson had three assists, Tomas Hertl scored the go-ahead goal midway through the second period and the surging Sharks defeated the Los Angeles Kings 3-1 on Monday night.
Joonas Donskoi and Joe Thornton also scored for San Jose. Martin Jones made 22 saves as the Sharks won their fifth in six games.
Karlsson has at least one assist in 13 consecutive appearances going back to Dec. 7, with 22 points (one goal, 21 assists) during that stretch.
"I think we're starting to figure each other out out there and it's nice to see when guys take advantage of the scoring chances that we got," Karlsson said. "There weren't too many out there today, and it was a perfect game for us."
Karlsson, acquired from the Ottawa Senators in September, got off to a slow start with San Jose. He had just 15 points (two goals, 13 assists) through his first 27 games with his new team. But he has 13 assists in his last six games.
"He just plays great two-way hockey," Donskoi said. "I feel like he's great defensively, but also of course he has the amazing skills in the offensive zone and he can score goals and make some unreal passes. It's been great to watch him play."
Anze Kopitar had a goal and Jack Campbell turned back 26 shots for the Kings, who have lost three of four.
"San Jose is a good team. They have a lot of depth," Kings coach Willie Desjardins said. "This is a hard building to come into and I thought we showed a lot of energy. All four lines played well. We had a good start in the first period and I thought that was going to be a key."
Hertl scored his 15th goal at 9:09 of the second period. He scooped up a pass from Karlsson as he crossed the blue line and drove to the net, slipping a backhand past Campbell.
San Jose led going into the first intermission on Donskoi's 11th goal with 2:17 left in the first period. It was his fifth in five games.
The Kings evened it at 3:42 of the second on Kopitar's 11th goal and second in two games, which tied him with Dustin Brown for the team lead.
Thornton added an empty-netter — his seventh goal — with 20 seconds left.
The Sharks were coming off an inspired effort Saturday, when they ended Tampa Bay's NHL-best 16-game point streak, and coach Peter DeBoer acknowledged he didn't know what to expect from his team on Monday.
"We had an emotional win the other night and you always wonder how you're going to come back," DeBoer said. "I think playing L.A. helped with that because we know it's going to be a hard game, you're going to show up and play a man's game against them in order to have some success. I thought we did a good job tonight."
The West Coast rivals played a predictably physical game.
"It's the San Jose Sharks and the Los Angeles Kings. It's a rivalry game and as much as we respect them, we hate them," Kings defenseman Drew Doughty said. "We're chasing them trying to get back to a playoff spot. Emotions run high and sometimes it gets chippy. I love a chippy game."
NOTES: Sharks forward Melker Karlsson played in his 300th NHL game. ... San Jose D Radim Simek was in the lineup for the first time since suffering a concussion on Dec. 31. ... Sharks defensemen Marc-Edouard Vlasic (wrist) and Justin Braun (knee) worked out on the ice after Monday's skate. Braun is on injured reserve.
Kings: Host the Ottawa Senators on Thursday.
Sharks: Host the Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday.