Highlights were shown, the Stanley Cup was lowered and the banner was raised. The crowd cheered loudly as they relived special moments from 2014’s Cup run.
Then the puck dropped and both teams got to work. Or rather, the San Jose Sharks got to work and the LA Kings were left scrambling for most of the game. Suffice it to say, LA did not look prepared as San Jose ran roughshod over them through the better part of 60 minutes.
The Kings escaped the period only down by one, though they had several high quality chances against Antti Niemi, they just couldn’t seem to put the puck in the net, which is really the story of their night.
Every time they generated chances, they either missed the net or made it rather easy for Niemi to make the save. That’s not a knock on Niemi, who played well tonight; it’s a knock on the Kings who didn’t play well at all.
The second period saw a total meltdown, somewhat similar to the one they experienced up in San Jose last April. The Kings got into penalty trouble (picking up right where they left off in the postseason) and allowed a power play goal after taking four straight minor penalties. Then a bad turnover in the offensive zone led to a Wingels breakaway, who split the defense and fooled Quick. Fourteen seconds later, Quick gave the puck away behind his own net and Matt Nieto had an easy tap in. It was that kind of a night for LA.
Martin Jones started the third period but it was more of the same. Chances came and went and the Kings didn’t score any goals. At least they’re getting their lack of scoring out of the way early this year. This should bode well for their typical mid-season slump.
Ok in reality, it was one game and the team came out inexplicably flat. Postgame, Kings’ coach Darryl Sutter denied any sort of hangover from the banner raising ceremony, asking reporters, “Did you ever just stop and consider maybe that San Jose just flat out outplayed us?”
The Kings will look to regroup on Saturday against the Arizona Coyotes, who are also coming off a bad loss. The two rivals will face off at 6 PM PT.
Banner Raising Ceremony Pictures
You can check out video and more photos here courtesy of Jon Rosen.
All photos in this article are property of the author.