This most recent episode of Road to the NHL Stadium Series was full of memorable moments for viewers. Everything from Marc-Edouard Vlasic's home life to Joe Pavelski's leadership was put on display, giving fans an even deeper perspective on the San Jose Sharks. I guess they showed some pretty cool things for the Los Angeles Kings too.
The show opened with an inside look at the San Jose locker room just prior to a matchup against the Calgary Flames, who the Sharks have just sucked against this year. Head coach, Todd McLellan, is shown ripping his team a new one, criticizing their poor special teams play since Christmas. According to the coach, San Jose has won the special teams battle just six times in their past 16 games. In addition to this, an injured Vlasic as well as Justin Braun were practicing before the game, but would not be available to the Sharks that night. McLellan said that their injuries could not be an excuse for the team to perform poorly. The inconsistency is the fault of the team itself.
The Sharks would lose their game to the Flames despite Tommy Wingels being back in the lineup for the first time in three weeks. The power play continued to struggle and San Jose was defeated by a score of four to one, their lone goal coming from Brent Burns with one second left in the second period.
The focus then shifted to Los Angeles, who was in Columbus to finish off their road trip. I don't know why, but EPIX has a thing with the Kings eating. That's how they ended last weeks episode and how they started this one. Unfortunately for the team, Alec Martinez was injured in the prior game and Brayden McNabb was required to come in and take his place. Though he was teased immensely by his club, he helped the Kings to victory that night by posting two assists. In addition to this, former Blue Jacket, Jeff Carter, scored, receiving a barrage of boos along the way. It's nice to know that the hate for players on Los Angeles is spread throughout the NHL and isn't just confined to SAP Center.
You know how bad the Kings were this year? That win gave them their first two game win streak in about six weeks.
Back in San Jose, many Sharks attended the retirement ceremony of the great Evgeni Nabokov. The team acquired him from Tampa Bay for the sole purpose of letting him finish his career as a Shark. This is a very emotional scene, especially to those who idolized Nabby as a goaltender. In his words, "the circle is coming to the end and I'm happy that I will retire as a Shark." The crew then contrasted this saddening scene by highlighting the comical John Scott. As bad as he is at hockey, he is absolutely hilarious and it makes me hate him just a little less.
Nabokov would drop the ceremonial puck that night in SAP Center in a game against the Washington Capitals. Though San Jose played well, they were trolled by both the linesmen and the officials, which helped the Caps to a 4-3 win in overtime. McLellan approved of his club's effort but the players were infuriated with the outcome of the game.
Back in Los Angeles, we got a look at probably the most interesting man in the Kings' organization (which isn't saying much). Dana Bryson, who is the assistant equipment manager for the team, picked on a couple of the players. He said that Jared Stoll has to modify practically every part of his equipment and reveals that Doughty is not the brightest bulb in the bunch. Dana is a guy by the way. Then the focus turned to Kyle Clifford, a physical player who is a big body and sticks up for teammates. But outside of hockey he is also a husband and has an adorable baby boy named Brodie. It's almost like the Kings have actual people in their roster.
Moving on to another look in on the Sharks, the crew showed a trip to a hunting store in Arizona by Andrew Desjardins and Tyler Kennedy. After playing real-life Frogger to get there, the two elected to compete in a bow-and-arrow contest at the store. Kennedy would emerge victorious, by being able to kill a plastic dear less painfully than Desi. Meanwhile in San Jose, the injured Vlasic demonstrated his love for dogs by taking a trip to the San Jose Animal Care Center. Clearly this makes Pickles the greatest human being on the face of the Earth.
To wrap up the Kings' appearance in this episode, roommates Trevor Lewis and Drew Doughty are shown being up to their usual shenanigans. They were playing some sort of golf game inside their house, using the camera as a prop at one point. There may be something more to this friendship though, because according to their assistant equipment manager, they are like a married couple. More specifically, they are like the Odd Couple.
That night the Kings took on the same Flames team that destroyed the Sharks earlier in the episode. Despite wearing their hideous gold uniforms, honoring the mullet master Barry Melrose, and Quick being his usual crybaby self, the Kings were able to douse the Flames with a hat trick by Tyler Tiffoli. This was Los Angeles's first three-game win streak since mid-November.
In Arizona, San Jose took on the desert dogs in a game that saw them trail 2-0 by the end of the first period. But, after a speech that featured an incredible amount of f-bombs by Joe Pavelski, the Sharks were able to turn the game around. Well, actually, Pavelski turned the game around. The American center recorded a hat trick, and with the help of Barclay Goodrow, was able to earn Todd McLellan his 300th career win. Good job, Pavelski.
There is only one more episode left of this series so don't miss out. And, there are just five more days until puck drop at Levi's Stadium.