Anze Kopitar, Ray Emery

Best and worst sweaters of all-time: Los Angeles Kings

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From the early days of Dave Taylor and Marcel Dionne in Los Angeles to the current times with Anze Kopitar and Dustin Brown, the Kings have always been proud of their crowns and that’s with good reason. The Kings have always looked good in Hollywood and while that’s necessary when playing there, there’s a look or two that stands out above all over their history.

Best: I’ve stressed from the get-go with this series that sometimes teams get it right immediately and have an original look that beats all comers. Such is the case with the Kings whose purple and gold original sweaters are magnificent. When they added names to both the home and road sweaters in 1977 that’s when things got really real for the Kings. That look was so good that the Kings used the purple road sweaters as special alternates last year and will do it again this season. That kind of beauty is hard to find these days.

Worst: I’ve dilly-dallied with some of the other brutal sweaters. I didn’t hammer down on the Islanders’ fisherman, I didn’t bury the Vancouver “Flying V’s”, but I will thoroughly trash the Kings’ 1996 alternate sweater. You’ll know this one better as their “Burger King” third jersey because of the creepy head of the king over the shoulder while there were swooping streaks and an odd numbering and lettering style on the sweater. It’s creepy, it’s weird, and it’s part of a pack of third jerseys from that year that defy explanation. Worst of all, they made Gretzky wear these at one point. Egregious. The guys at The Royal Half did an incredible writeup on the history of the Burger King sweater that’s more than worth your time to read, just remember to avert your eyes when gazing upon the king himself.

Silver and black attack: When Bruce McNall bought the Kings and pulled Wayne Gretzky away from the Oilers, the Kings broke out a very Raiders-like silver and black look that the Great One helped make look iconic for the time. It helps that the Kings saw their greatest success with Gretzky with these sweaters and it makes even more sense that it’s a look that the Kings are going back to this season.

Assessment: Like it or not, the Kings are going back to the silver and black look thanks to the inspiration by their recent third sweater. Some dig the new “LA” crest that makes you think of the 90s Kings (I’m one of them) while others despise it. Their now former home black and purple sweater will be their alternate and they’re making the road sweaters a white version of the black sweater. To me it’s a nice look and since I have a slight affinity for the 90s Kings look, I’m cool with it. That said, getting teased occasionally with the 60s-70s purple Kings sweater with the crown is a cruel tease. It’s such a sweet look it hurts to see it only rarely.

Sharks swarm in the third period, take down Predators in Game 1

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For two periods, the San Jose Sharks couldn’t solve Pekka Rinne.

Maybe it was because of that black cat that found its way on to the ice prior to the start of Friday’s game, or the video review that didn’t go in San Jose’s favor in the opening period.

But that all changed in the final period. It started with Tomas Hertl on the power play finding room just under the glove of Rinne to get San Jose on the board. Joel Ward followed that up with a gorgeous deke, tucking the puck in behind Rinne just as he started to go behind the net, as San Jose was able to take advantage of a defensive breakdown.

Logan Couture added the eventual winner. Within the span of 13 minutes, the Sharks had completely taken over, cashing in on two Nashville penalties and a defensive lapse.

When the onslaught was over, the Sharks skated off with a 5-2 win in Game 1 of this second-round series with the Predators, who only wrapped up a seven-game series win over Anaheim on Wednesday.

Ryan Johansen made it interesting, cutting into San Jose’s lead with under two minutes remaining, but any further comeback attempt was quickly halted by a pair of empty net goals from the Sharks.

The game ended with a dust-up along the boards, before cooler heads did prevail.

Another North Dakota junior goes pro as Blackhawks sign Luke Johnson

Quinnipiac forward Tommy Schutt, left, moves the puck as North Dakota forward Luke Johnson, middle, checks Quinnipiac forward Travis St. Denis during the first period of an NCAA college hockey tournament game Friday, March 27, 2015, in Fargo, N.D. North Dakota won 4-1. (AP Photo/Bruce Crummy)
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Another day, another University of North Dakota player deciding to enter the professional hockey ranks.

This time, it was 21-year-old forward Luke Johnson who turned pro following his junior year, as he signed a three-year contract with the Chicago Blackhawks, the team that selected him in the fifth round of the 2013 NHL Draft.

In 43 games with the NCAA champs this season, Johnson scored 11 goals and 21 points, just shy of his college career high of 24 points set the previous year.

Johnson will forgo his senior year at North Dakota, making him the fourth member of that program’s junior class to turn pro since the end of the season. Keaton Thompson signed with the Anaheim Ducks, Troy Stecher inked with the Vancouver Canucks and Paul LaDue signed with the L.A. Kings.

Senior forward Drake Caggiula, now a free agent, has reportedly narrowed down his list of NHL suitors to six teams.

Brock Boeser, Vancouver’s 2015 first-round pick and coming off an impressive freshman year, will return to North Dakota for his sophomore year, as per Canucks general manager Jim Benning earlier this month.

Video: Black cat hits the ice before Sharks-Predators Game 1

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Perhaps it’s an ominous sign of bad luck to come, but for which team?

Prior to puck drop between the host San Jose Sharks and Nashville Predators in Game 1 on Friday, a black cat hit the ice at SAP Center, taking a nervous stroll along the boards.

Not sure exactly where it came from, although it’s possible someone was feeling extra superstitious before the start of this series.

Official update on the really important story of the evening:

Speed, skill help Stars score late victory to take series lead over Blues

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The Dallas Stars scored a late winner, held on in the final minute and eventually struck first in their best-of-seven second-round series with the St. Louis Blues.

Once again, it was the speed and skill of the Stars that proved to be the difference in the end. Radek Faksa scored with less than five minutes remaining in the third period, breaking the deadlock and giving Dallas a 2-1 victory and 1-0 series lead over their Central Division foes on Friday.

As he entered the zone on the rush, Faksa dished off to a flying Ales Hemsky, who was denied by Brian Elliott in alone. But Faksa followed up, jamming in the rebound to give the Stars the lead, as both St. Louis defensemen Jay Bouwmeester and Alex Pietrangelo were caught by the speed of the Dallas forwards on the rush.

The Stars held on from there, as the Blues made a late push to tie the game.

Kari Lehtonen stopped 31 of 32 shots for Dallas, while Elliott was busy throughout the night, stopping 40 of 42 shots.

Elliott was furious after the Stars opened the scoring in the second period, as Antoine Roussel tallied on a rebound after yet another nice Dallas passing play in the offensive zone.

Stars forward Patrick Eaves left the game early in the third period and didn’t play another shift after being hit in the lower part of his leg with the puck from a point shot.