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Banner up, Kings blanked

by Alex Kinkopf / Los Angeles Kings

– On a special night for the Kings, raising their 2014 Stanley Cup championship banner to STAPLES Center’s rafters in front of a standing-room only crowd of 18, 514, the San Jose Sharks muddled the after-party by way of a 4-0 win in the teams’ regular season opener.

Not much was connecting for the Kings offensively Wednesday night, who couldn’t get a single puck past Antti Niemi on 25 shots.

“We just didn’t play well,” Dustin Brown told reporters following the game. “We weren’t very sharp moving the puck or coming in and out of our zone. We struggled moving it quickly, tape-to-tape, and as a result, that makes it really hard to get up the ice.”

The Kings, seconds after failing to generate chances on their first power play of the night, surrendered the first goal of the game to San Jose’s Tommy Wingels, who would later chip in with another tally in the second period.

Entering the second down a goal, the Kings then found themselves struggling to stay out of the penalty box. After taking two penalties late in the first, they drew another pair early in the second. Patrick Marleau struck for the Sharks during a power play, deflecting a puck past Jonathan Quick, uncovered in Los Angeles’ slot.

San Jose struck for two more goals, in a :14 second span late in the second to take a commanding 4-0 lead.

Martin Jones would replace Jonathan Quick to start the third period. Quick stopped 23 of the 27 shots he faced. Jones stopped the three shots he faced in the third, but would be little help to the Kings, who couldn't chip away offensively.

“We just didn’t come prepared to play,” Alec Martinez stressed following the loss. “We didn’t come out the way we needed to. I thought the mood in the room was good, it just didn’t translate once the game started.”

With their win tonight, the Sharks picked up their first regular season win at STAPLES Center since March 5, 2012. Tonight marked San Jose’s first regular season victory in regulation time in Los Angeles dating back to January 1, 2011.

The Kings are now 0-2-0 when playing after a championship ceremony, also falling to the Chicago Blackhawks 5-2 when they raised the 2012 banner on January 19, 2013.

Trevor Lewis led the Kings in shots (6), Drew Doughty in ice time (27:28), Kyle Clifford and Trevor Lewis in hits (4), and Alec Martinez in blocked shots (5).

The last time the Kings were shutout in their home opener, it also came against the San Jose Sharks, on October 12, 2008.

The Kings will next play in Glendale, slated for a matchup with the Arizona Coyotes Saturday night at Gila River Arena. The puck is set to drop at 6:00PM PT. The game will be televised live on FOX SPORTS WEST, their first regular season telecast of the year.

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