|Date of game: 10/8/2014
Recap: Los Angeles vs. San Jose
Los Angeles, CA (SportsNetwork.com) - Five months and change after a bitter postseason defeat, the San Jose Sharks watched the Los Angeles Kings raise their Stanley Cup banner.
It would be a leap to say the memory of their first-round collapse could be erased on the first day of the new season. What the Sharks got instead was the next-best thing: a shutout.
Tommy Wingels beat Jonathan Quick twice, Antti Niemi made 34 saves for his 28th career shutout and the Sharks rolled to a 4-0 win over the Kings on Wednesday night at Staples Center.
"It's not necessarily faith, we all believe in (Niemi) or he wouldn't be here," Sharks head coach Todd McLellan said. "He's come back and really focused on playing well."
The Sharks, possibly the NHL's best early-season team the past two years, won their fifth straight opener.
They coughed up a 3-0 series lead in the Western Conference playoffs in April, leaving Los Angeles to become only the fourth NHL team ever to overcome that deficit to win a seven-game series.
The Kings, after outscoring their Pacific Division foes 18-5 in the next four games, went on to beat Anaheim and Chicago in seven games before topping the New York Rangers in five for their second Stanley Cup title in three years.
Patrick Marleau and Matt Nieto also scored for the Sharks, who killed off five Kings power plays.
Joe Thornton, stripped of his captaincy in the offseason, had two shots in 17 minutes in the win.
Quick finished with 23 saves in two periods and Martin Jones stopped all three shots he faced in the third.
"It's a tough game, tough to take any good parts out of it," Kings head coach Darryl Sutter said. "You don't like pulling goalies the first game of the year."
Wingels was standing at the goal line to Quick's right when he roped a snap shot over the goaltender's shoulder from a nearly impossible angle to give the Sharks a 1-0 lead 5:43 into the game.
Quick was beat over the shoulder again when Marleau deflected defenseman Brent Burns' shot from the high right side on a power play 3:20 into the second period.
The Sharks poured it on before the end of the period to take their 4-0 lead.
Wingels scored his second goal on a breakaway at 15:50, deking to his backhand to beat Quick after getting the puck behind two defenders, and Nieto lit the lamp just 14 seconds later after Quick gave the puck away behind the net.
The Kings ended the game with a 5-on-3 but still couldn't solve Niemi, who made one of his best saves when he threw his right pad out to stop Jeff Carter's point-blank backhand at the left post in the final minute.Game Notes
Burns had two assists for San Jose ... The standing room-only crowd of
18,514 marked the Kings' 91st consecutive regular-season sellout and 120th
sellout in a row including playoff games -- both team records ... The Sharks
will play Winnipeg in their home opener on Saturday before going on the road
for the next five games ... The Kings will face the Arizona Coyotes on
Saturday in their only road test in their first eight games ... The Kings have
lost three straight home openers.