Sharks depose Kings as Timo Meier Scores a Franchise-Record Five Goals

Meier and teammate, Brent Burns, celebrating after he scored his second goal in a 6-2 domination of the Los Angeles Kings on Monday. (Image courtesy of

Going into SAP Center (aptly named the Shark Tank) in the afternoon of January 17th, these two teams, the San Jose Sharks and Los Angeles Kings have a fierce rivalry that has been stoked in the past decade with numerous playoff appearances against the two. But the rivalry has a history as well. In 1967, the Sharks (then known as the California Seals) were promoted to the NHL up from the Western Hockey League. The Seals and Kings were the only two teams in California, and games marketed as the “Battle of California” would contribute to above-average attendance for the two fledgling teams. 

After 1991, when the franchise was revived as the San Jose Sharks, the rivalry between the two was not very heated. But after the 2011 Western Conference Quarterfinals, the rivalry began again and became especially heated after a thrilling 7 game series in the Conference Semifinals and a reverse sweep by the Kings (who eventually won the Stanley Cup that year) in the 2014 first round, although the score was settled in a 2016 first-round defeat of the Kings (which would eventually lead to the Sharks making their first Stanley Cup in their short history).

The Northern-Southern California rivalries are prevalent in other major sports, with the 49ers-Rams in the NFL, the Giants-Dodgers in the MLB, the Warriors-Lakers in the NBA, and even the San Jose Earthquakes and the LA Galaxy in the MLS. But this rivalry is one of the more recent ones between Californians.

The Sharks and the Kings both had something to play for today. They started off the season in the middle of the pack, not exactly in the wild card tier, as both were stuck around 5th-7th in their division. But due to the postponement of the Canadian games, they have suddenly jumped in their position. Nobody knows how much longer that might last, so they both need to secure their position to achieve a spot in the postseason.

As these two rivals squared up for the first time in the season in the Tank, they both needed this win. For the Kings, they needed to break away from the 2nd place tie with the Anaheim Ducks and come within one game of usurping the Vegas Golden Knights of their Pacific Division lead. For the Sharks, they needed this win to come within one game of breaking into the top 3 in the Pacific Division or help further their lead in the Wild Card position.

As the game went underway, the Sharks struck almost immediately. Two minutes into the game, Kings Left Winger Arthur Kaliyev got a penalty for holding Jeffery Viel, giving the Sharks a two-minute power play. The odds are against them here, as they have a 17.82% power-play score percentage, a long way away from the 20.28% league average. But a minute into the power play, the Sharks lone All-Star in Timo Meier connected on a pass from Erik Karlsson and Brent Burns, giving them a 1-0 lead.

It took them a bit to connect on their next goal, but surprisingly, it wasn’t the star of the night. It was Rudolfs Balcers, finding the net off a pass from Tomas Hertl, giving them a 2-0 lead with five minutes left in the first period.

Meier then stepped up, and 3 minutes later, he caught Brent Burns’ shot off of Kings goalie Jonathan Quick’s pad and turned a shot that put the Sharks up 3-0. But he wasn’t done. After winning the faceoff, Meier put a shot off the stick of Jonathan Quick that was rebounded to Tomas Hertl and passed back to Meier to go up by 4. A hat trick in one period is no easy feat. But the Sharks’ momentum seemed to dry up a little bit as Anze Kopitar scored an unassisted goal with 16 seconds in the first period. Maybe their three-goal lead would slowly start to dry up.

But as the second period started, this was not the case.

Almost immediately, Viktor Arvidsson got a high stick on Erik Karlsson and gave the Sharks a 2-minute power play. A minute later, the Sharks (namely Meier) capitalized on the penalty for the second time today and scored off a pass from Erik Karlsson and Tomas Hertl. This put the Sharks up 5-1 and tied the franchise record for most goals scored in a game. But as the second period progressed, it wasn’t looking like he was gonna break the record.

With 40 seconds left, Hertl skated a pass to Erik Karlsson, who set the Sharks up in a prime position to score with a 3 on 2 breakaway. Karlsson gave the puck to Meier, who did a toe drag move to juke out Kings Defenseman Drew Doughty and slapped a wrister into the side of the net to create Sharks history. Timo Meier scored his 20th goal of the season, while Erik Karlsson netted the 500th assist of his career. While helping to break the franchise record, those two have broken great personal milestones.

Meier (#28), weaving past Kings player Drew Doughty seconds before he would score his fifth of the night.
(Image courtesy of

After the third period, there was some talk over whether or not Meier would go for the record of seven goals in a game. He had multiple opportunities to score on a power play but ended up foregoing it, as the Kings scored a garbage-time goal to make the final score 6-2, in favor of the Sharks.

The Sharks are now within one game of overtaking the spots of the LA Kings and Mickey Mouse Anaheim Ducks in the Pacific Division. The Kings, having already lost a tough game to the Lightning, playing the #1 Western Conference team in the Colorado Avalanche on Thursday, could end up meaning the Kings have to fight again to get back in the top 3.

The Sharks, on the other hand, have a comparatively easy game against the 2nd worst in the Western Conference, the Seattle Kraken. Thursday could have major playoff implications for the Western Conference, and once the Sharks get a taste of divisional glory, they might not let go. Both teams have tough schedules ahead of them, but only time will tell what will happen or not.

At the postgame ceremonies, Timo Meier was presented with the 1st star, given to the player who made the biggest impact on the singular game. 

Timo Meier has absolutely been amazing to watch this year, being the Sharks’ lone all-star. He is on track to score more than 100 points this season, a major accomplishment for him if he does. It truly is a thrill to watch him play a sport that he clearly excels in. But, with Timo Meier and a veteran lineup of proven players, could this be the year that the Sharks finally find playoff success and win the Cup?