Sharks aim to rebound vs. Kings
The Sharks (0-1-0) lost 5-2 against the Anaheim Ducks in the season opener for both teams on Wednesday night in San Jose.
Sharks goalie Martin Jones stopped just 10 of 14 shots before the Ducks scored a late empty-netter to seal the win. San Jose also went 0-for-3 on the power play, and gave up two power play goals on the other end.
“The power play’s about confidence and obviously we struggled in preseason and didn’t look sharp tonight,” San Jose coach Peter DeBoer told the San Jose Mercury News afterward. “We’ve got to get some practice time, we’ve got to spend a little time on video. but special teams and goaltending are huge parts of the game and we lost those two battles. When that happens, you’re probably not going to win a lot of games.”
The Kings will open their season without right winger Dustin Brown, who finished second on the team in goals (28) and points (61) last season. Brown sustained a broken finger in the final preseason game Saturday against the Ducks and is out indefinitely.
“It’s not good to lose one of your top guys,” Los Angeles defenseman Drew Doughty told The Athletic. “Brownie is a guy that is very, very hard to replace. Both in the room and on the ice.”
San Jose welcomed back one of its leaders on Wednesday night.
Joe Thornton played his first game since Jan. 23. He underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right knee two days later and missed the rest of the regular season and playoffs.
Thornton, 39, played 17:42 against the Ducks with one shot on goal and two penalty minutes.
“That’s the best I’ve seen (Thornton) moving since training camp and exhibition,” DeBoer told reporters afterward. “I thought tonight he had some decent legs.”
Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson will make his first appearance at Staples Center since Dec. 7, when he was still a member of the Ottawa Senators.
Karlsson, one of the NHL’s top defensemen who led the league in assists with 66 in 2015-16, was traded to San Jose on Sept. 13 in a deal that sent two players, two prospects and San Jose’s 2020 first-round draft pick to Ottawa.
Karlsson wasn’t much of a factor in his team debut on Wednesday. He had a team-high four takeaways, but was also the only player to finish at minus-2.
“I think as the game went on, just like everybody else, it felt a little more comfortable,” Karlsson told the Mercury News. “A little bit shaky in the beginning, pucks were bouncing here and there and you’re overthinking stuff, but (as) the game went along, I think not only me but everybody else started to feel a little bit more comfortable.”