Sharks look to rebound from opening loss, host Kings
With one game in the books, the San Jose Sharks may have found a new offensive weapon but know there still seems to be plenty of work that needs to be done.
Looking to even its record, San Jose continues a five-game homestand on Saturday night against the Los Angeles Kings in the first of four meetings between the Pacific Division rivals this season.
San Jose lifted the lid Wednesday night with a 5-3 loss to Philadelphia. Kevin Labanc registered the second two-goal game of his career and Logan Couture also scored.
"It was a good feeling," said Labanc, who scored both of his goals late in the first period, but was also whistled for three penalties during the game that resulted in three Flyers' goals. "... The crowd over here is unbelievable. It's a lot of fun playing in this building."
Couture was San Jose's top scorer with four goals and two assists in four games when squaring off against the Kings last season. He also needs three assists for 200 in his NHL career.
Meanwhile, Labanc collected two of his eight goals as a rookie versus Los Angeles, and he expects to produce more while playing on a line with veterans Joe Pavelski and Joe Thornton.
"Two great players," the 21-year-old Labanc said, "so you hang on a line with them and you just kind of put your head down and just work, get them the puck and find an opening and they'll find a way to get it back to you."
Martin Jones stopped 26 of 30 shots in the opener, but knows he must tighten things up.
"Obviously we wanted to get off to a better start," he said. "Putting yourself down two is always tough. I felt good; I just made a couple of mistakes early."
Jones is 6-2-2 with a 2.19 goals-against average in 10 games against the team with which he played in 2013 and 2015. The 27-year-old has surrendered five goals in his last three home games when facing Los Angeles.
The Sharks were 3-1-1 against Los Angeles last season, including a 1-0-1 mark at SAP Center.
The Kings opened this campaign with a 2-0 win over Philadelphia on Thursday. Jonathan Quick made 35 saves for his 45th career shutout, handing new coach John Stevens his first win since taking over on a full-time basis for Darryl Sutter.
"He's tremendous," Stevens told the team's official web site about Quick. "He obviously makes the key saves at key times, but I think he manages the team well."
Now in his 11th NHL season, Quick is trying to bounce back from a 2016-17 campaign in which he was limited to 17 games in large part due to a lower-body injury. The 2012 Conn Smythe Trophy winner appeared to suffer the injury late in the first period in a season-opening loss to San Jose on Oct. 12, 2016.
Trevor Lewis, who scored the Kings' first goal in the opener, told the Los Angeles Times on Thursday that he's glad to see Quick healthy again.
"He's unbelievable," Lewis said. "He made a couple of highlight-reel saves there again. He does it every night. We see it every day in practice. It's almost like you kind of get used it. It's nice to have him back."
Quick is 14-9-5 with a 2.61 goals-against average in 30 career starts against the Sharks, but 4-4-4 with a 2.33 GAA in San Jose.
Tanner Pearson, who set career highs in goals (24) and points (44) last season, was the Kings' top scorer against the Sharks with three goals and an assist in four games. The left wing registered the game winner in a 2-1 overtime victory at SAP Center on Jan. 3.
Updated October 6, 2017