Sharks blank Cup champion Kings in season opener

Mark J. Terrill/APThe Sharks' Jason Demers

Mark J. Terrill/APThe Sharks' Jason Demers

LOS ANGELES — 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.

NOTES: D Brayden McNabb made his Kings debut in place of injured Jake Muzzin. Los Angeles acquired McNabb in March from Buffalo, where he played 37 games over two seasons. He beat out Jeff Schultz for a roster spot in training camp. … Sharks D Mirco Mueller looked good in his NHL debut after making the roster in training camp. The 19-year-old Swiss prospect was San Jose's first-round pick in 2013. … Los Angeles Clippers coach Doc Rivers and middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin attended the festivities.

Antti NiemiHockeyLos Angeles KingsSan Jose Sharks

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Disability advocates protested outside the home of San Francisco Health Officer Tomas Aragon. (Courtesy Brooke Anderson)
Vaccine rollout plan for people with disabilities remains deeply flawed

On February 13, disability activists paid a visit to the house of… Continue reading

A Bay Area Concrete Recycling facility that opened on PG&E property in 2019. Former PG&E employees have been accused of accepting bribes from Bay Area Concrete. (Courtesy of Bay Area Concrete Recycling via ProPublica)
Lawsuit reveals new allegations against PG&E contractor accused of fraud

By Scott Morris Bay City News Foundation Utility giant Pacific Gas &… Continue reading

New protected bicycle lanes stretch from the city's Portola District to Bernal Heights. (Courtesy Bay City News)
City leaders celebrate protected bike lanes in city’s Portola, Bernal Heights neighborhoods

San Francisco city leaders on Thursday announced the completion of new protected… Continue reading

Basketball (Shutterstock)
Stanford’s NCAA Tournament hopes in peril after close loss to Oregon

Ziaire Williams nearly had his moment on Thursday night. After giving his… Continue reading

San Francisco Police Officer Nicholas Buckley, pictured here in 2014, is now working out of Bayview Station. <ins>(Department of Police Accountability records)</ins>
SF police return officer to patrol despite false testimony

A San Francisco police officer accused of fabricating a reason for arresting… Continue reading

Most Read