It's An Unhappy Debut For The Kings
October 8, 2015
By Steven Lieberman
The Los Angeles Kings hosted the San Jose Sharks as the home-opener opponent and the outcome was the same as last season, another Kings loss.
Not a 4-0 shutout at the hands of the Sharks last season, but 5-1. Last season, the Kings had their Stanley Cup banner-raising ceremony before the game, so they might have been a bit distracted, but no excuse this time.
It is the new-look season for the Kings. Former Kings goalie and backup to Jonathan Quick, Martin Jones, started for the Sharks while two other former Kings, Jarret Stolle and Justin Williams, both helping the Kings to both Stanley Cup championships, are missed.
Former Bruin Milan Lucic was a major off-season acquisition for the Kings. He is good at both ends of the ice and also likes to be an enforcer. “Very physical and emotional player,” head coach Darryl Sutter said. In his debut, he fell short, not able to produce a goal or assist and sat in the penalty box once in the third period.
The Kings only goal was the first of the game in the first period by Nick Shore with assists by Dustin Brown and Drew Doughty. It was all Sharks for the remainder of the contest. Quick had a lackluster start in goal, same as last season as he was only able to stop 27 shots out of 32 on goal, while Jones saved 19 of 20.
The Sharks also have a new-look as new head coach, Peter DeBoer, got a victory in his first game behind the bench, and in hostile territory.
“Not much went wrong tonight,” DeBoer said. “Like I told the team, that game tonight was a culmination of a month of hard work. We showed up at camp and really worked and paid attention to detail. Tonight we played like we’re going to have to play; with four lines, six defensemen, great goaltending, and great special teams.”
All three stars-of-the-game went to the Sharks – Joe Pavelski with a goal and two assists, and both Joe Thornton and Brent Burns each with a goal and an assist.
Pavelski liked how his team managed the puck and pressured the Kings.
“We just controlled it well,” Pavelski said. “We put it in good spots all night, where we had chances to get back or chances to get on the forecheck and create that pressure. Game 1. Great job by the guys, and there’s a lot of good things we can take from it.”
Lucic had one shot, and the Kings’ top line of Lucic, Anze Kopitar and Marian Gaborik was a combined minus-6.
“Flat,” Sutter said of the line.
Sutter sounded like the Kings were ill-suited to play against their Pacific Division rival. “We’re playing against a big, fast team…we didn’t play like a big, fast team,” Sutter said. “You’ve got to check. If you don’t check, you can’t score. We had a lot of guys, especially top guys, that weren’t interested in that part of the game.”
It also didn’t help that the Kings gave the Sharks more than nine minutes of power-play time.
“It’s definitely not the game we drew up, and our special teams were not good,” Kopitar said. “We didn’t play the way we should. It was very sloppy.”
The Sharks won their sixth straight season-opener, the longest active streak in the NHL.