Sharks crash Kings’ celebration with 4-0 victory
Tommy Wingels scored two goals, Antti Niemi made 34 saves in his 28th career shutout and the San Jose Sharks crashed the Los Angeles Kings’ Stanley Cup banner celebration with a 4-0 victory in the season opener Wednesday night.
The Kings raised their championship banner to the Staples Center rafters in a pregame ceremony commemorating their 26-game playoff run to their second title in three years. Los Angeles started that charge with a seven-game, first-round victory over the Sharks, who extracted a bit of belated revenge.
Patrick Marleau had a goal and an assist. Wingels and Matt Nieto scored 14 seconds apart in a three-goal second period that sent the Sharks to their NHL-best fifth straight season-opening victory.
Jonathan Quick stopped 23 shots for the Kings, but was replaced by Martin Jones in the third period.
The home team had won 20 of the last 22 games in this rivalry before this blowout win by the Sharks, who were an interesting choice of opponent for the Kings’ celebration night.
San Jose had a 3-0 series lead in the first round before the Kings stormed back to win the series in seven games, becoming the fourth NHL team to rally from such a deficit.
The Sharks stayed in their dressing room while the Kings celebrated their second championship in three years with an on-ice ceremony starring the Stanley Cup, which was lowered from the Staples Center scoreboard in a glass case as the Kings stood in a circle at center ice.
Former Kings Marcel Dionne and Rogie Vachon then brought out the new banner, and the Kings raised it to the rafters amid a lengthy standing ovation.
The Kings then lost on their banner night for the second time. Chicago beat Los Angeles 5-2 in January 2013.
Twenty-one players from last season’s title-winning team made the roster, which returns nearly intact for the Kings’ attempt to become the first team in a quarter-century to win three championships in four years.
Wingels put the Sharks ahead with a sharp-angled shot in the first period. Marleau then redirected Brent Burns’ shot during a power play early in the second, and Wingels scored again on a breakaway moments before Marleau caught Quick dawdling behind his net and got the puck to Nieto.
Niemi withstood a two-man advantage for the Kings in the final 1:07 of the third period.
The Sharks skated without a captain, putting the assistants’ “A’’ on Joe Pavelski, Joe Thornton and Marleau. The club stripped the captaincy from Thornton in the offseason as part of its self-evaluation following another playoff disappointment.