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Sharks open season with win in LA
6 months too late
10/8/14 - By Mike Lee -

The San Jose Sharks had a little motivation to kick off the 2014-15 NHL season. After getting kicked in the teeth by the Los Angeles Kings last spring, the NHL spit on the Sharks by scheduling their regular season opener in Southern California to partake in the Kings Championship banner raising ceremony. If that didn't spark a reaction from the Sharks, nothing would. San Jose responded with a solid 4-0 win on opening night at Staples Center.

Tommy Wingels apparently understood Doug Wilson's point about taking charge, by scoring a pair of goals to lead San Jose. After spending the beginning of his career as a support player, Wingels seized the moment and provided the Sharks with more offense than they would need.

Wingels performance was a bit of a salve, applied to a very open wound that won't fully heal until the Sharks do something meaningful in the playoffs. This is October, so San Jose will need more guys than just Wingels to take a leadership role this year.

Wingels opened the season with the Sharks first goal of 2014, finding a hole in Jonathan Quick 5:43 into the game for the 1-0 lead. Tye McGinn sent a blind backhand pass from behind the Kings net to Wingels in the left corner, setting up a shot from along the goal line that found a seam. Quick looked dumbstruck at the fact that the puck found its way to the goal.

Antti Niemi took a step toward exercising some of his own demons by turning in a 34-save night to earn his 28th career shutout.

Niemi made a big save on a Jeff Carter wrap around chance early in the 2nd period to ground his game. Carter sliced behind the net from right to left, putting a shot on goal that seemed destined for the back of the net. Niemi stuck his right pad out toward the left post to cut off the would-be goal.

Kyle Cliffords' tripping penalty 2:46 into the period setup the Sharks 2nd goal of the season. Brent Burns sent a puck down the slot from the blueline, were Patrick Marleau deflected it over Jonathan Quick's left shoulder with a flick of the stick blade. The goal came on San Jose's 4th power play of the night.

San Jose busted things open with just over 4 minutes left in the 2nd period. Wingels potted his 2nd goal of the game on a breakaway after Brent Burns chipped a puck up ice. Wingels split Drew Doughty and Brayden McNabb on his way to the Kings goal, then undressed Quick with a move to his left that opened up the Los Angeles goal.

Matt Nieto made it 4-0 San Jose just 14 seconds later, punching home a Marleau feed form behind the net. Quick was caught out of his net on the play, which gift wrapped the goal for Nieto who had a wide open net to play with.

The Sharks spent the final 20 minutes of the contest diverting the puck from the front of their own net. The Kings outshot San Jose 10-3 in the final frame in an attempt to generate any kind of offense on a night that was more about celebrating their accomplishments of the previous season, than kicking off another Stanley Cup run. The Kings were flat most of the evening, lacking any of the spark that vaulted them past San Jose last spring.

Two Sharks made their NHL debuts, and didn't embarrass themselves. Chris Tierney made his debut centering San Jose's 4th line, skating 17 shifts and finisghing with a +2, and 3 shots on goal. Mirco Mueller logged 17:54 of ice time on the Sharks blueline, which included 2:47 on the power play. Mueller was a +1 with a pair of blocked shots.


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1 2 3 T
SJ 1 3 0 4
LA 0 0 0 0
1st period - 1, SJ, Wingels 1 (McGinn, Demers), 5:43.
2nd period - 2, SJ, Marleau 1 (Burns, Vlasic), 3:20, (pp). 3, SJ, Wingels 2 (Burns), 15:50. 4, SJ, Nieto 1 (Marleau), 16:04.
3rd period - None.
1st period - Marleau, SJ (interference), 3:18; Brown, SJ (fighting major), 11:21; Clifford, LA (fighting major), 11:21; Stoll, LA (slashing), 12:03; Doughty, LA (boarding), 16:47.
2nd period - Clifford, LA (tripping), 2:46; Richards, LA (boarding), 4:53; Couture, SJ (holding), 11:36.
3rd period - Nieto, SJ (hooking), 10:15; Braun, SJ (tripping), 18:53; Brown, SJ (boarding), 18:53.
Shots Saves
SJ - Niemi 34 34
LA - Quick 27 23
LA - Jones 3 3
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
SJ 15 12 3 30
LA 11 13 10 34
Power Play Conversion
SJ 1 of 4
LA 0 of 5
3 Stars of the Game
Tommy Wingels
Brent Burns
Antti Niemi
Referees: O'Halloran, O'Rourke. Linesmen: Lazarowich, Wheler.
Holiday Gifts at BustedTees

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