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Kings at Sharks Preview: California Rivals Dance for First Time This Season

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Watch your knees, Dustin Brown is in town.

NHL: San Jose Sharks at Los Angeles Kings
Let the wookie win
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Well, the Sharks’ season opener was...OK? The game was a story of special teams, as teams combined to score 5 of 8 goals on the power play (and a 6th, empty-net goal for the Flyers). While it’s too early to start worrying about some of the bad signs we saw during the team’s first game, there are some themes that have carried over from last season.

For one, the Sharks’ special teams — both the PK and PP — continued to be bad. At least we saw Burns taking shots from somewhere on the ice not near the point. That’s an improvement, if it lasts. Martin Jones was not good, either, posting a .867 save percentage in his first outing. His 5v5 numbers were very good, however. Still, it’ll be a long season if the refs continue to call games like they have and the Sharks’ penalty-box party continues.

Tonight, the not-very-well-liked Kings come into town for the first time this season. Their roster sports some familiar names: Drew Doughty, Jake Muzzin, Anze Kopitar, Jeff Carter, Tyler Toffoli, the goalie who probably won’t be better than most teams’ for the next 10 years after this, Jonathan Quick and, finally, every Sharks fan’s favorite: Dustin “LOL you were a captain for how long?!” Brown.

The Kings have been a perennial shot attempt-controlling juggernaut, but ownership finally let ex-GM Dean Lombardi and ex-coach Darryl Sutter go during the offseason, presumably due to their overly expensive contracts and inability to turn shot attempts into goals, respectively. The team hired ex-Shark and King Rob Blake to run the team and another former player, John Stevens to coach them. If we’ve learned anything from elevating former players to leadership positions it’s, uh...good luck.

The Kings beat the aforementioned Flyers in their season opener, while the Sharks are looking for their first win of this year’s fresh sheet of ice.

The Sharks’ promising Hertl - Meier pairing delivered the worst 5v5 results on the team against the Flyers. If that line can rebound and produce some of the expected goal differential numbers they did last season, the Sharks should be in for their first victory of the new year. Let’s cross our fingers.