The San Jose Sharks can never take back what happened last spring.
The feeling of having a 3-0 series lead against the L.A. Kings in the first round of the playoffs and then completely collapsing, losing four straight and getting eliminated, causing a summer of questions, concerns, doubts, changes and angst will probably never fully go away.
However, the Sharks did exact a little revenge Wednesday.
The Sharks took a bite out of the Kings, shutting them out by a final score of 4-0 and chasing Jonathan Quick from the L.A. net after 40 minutes. Two goals for the Sharks in the span of 14 seconds late in the second period essentially ended the evening for Quick, who was replaced by Martin Jones.
The result put a damper on the Stanley Cup banner raising and celebration of L.A.’s second championship in three seasons.
“I think we gained a little bit (of ground) on them. We’re more hungry and we really want to do the details right this time,” said Sharks’ goalie Antti Niemi, who stopped all 34 shots he faced for the league’s first shutout of the season, as per Greg Beacham of the Associated Press.
The Sharks, it appears, had been looking forward to this game, this night, for some time.
“It absolutely was. It’s been a long summer thinking about this game,” Tommy Wingels, who scored twice in the win, told CSN Bay Area.
“When the schedule did come out and this was our first game, the media loved it, the fans loved it, but us players loved it, too.”
This isn’t a first for the Kings.
The last time they started the season with a championship celebration, back in January of 2013 after the lockout ended, they were soundly defeated by the Chicago Blackhawks.
Was this pre-game show the reason why the Kings got off to such a bad start against the Sharks?
“There’s worse problems to have,” Kings’ captain Dustin Brown told the L.A. Times. “It’s one of those things that kind of goes with the territory. I don’t think that’s why we were sloppy. We were sloppy because we didn’t prepare properly.”