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Friend turned foe

by Alex Kinkopf / Los Angeles Kings

An old friend will be protecting the opposition’s net tonight as the Kings open their 2015-’16 season at STAPLES Center.

Martin Jones, who the Kings dealt to the Boston Bruins on June 26, was then shipped to San Jose three days later – popping him exactly where the Kings didn’t want him to be – the Western Conference, and the Pacific Division.

Now, Jones, at 25 years old, has a chance to shine in a starting role – something that likely wasn’t in the near future for him with Jonathan Quick’s lengthy contract in Los Angeles.

At Wednesday’s morning skate at STAPLES Center, Jones shared a few thoughts on his return to his former building, to face his former team:

“It’s going to be exciting,” Jones said of opening the season in Los Angeles. “Those are the fun games to play in. Obviously our goal is to go in there and get two points, but I’ll try and have a little bit of fun when I’m there, for sure.”

Tyler Toffoli, known as a good friend of Jones’, wasn’t shy in sharing his excitement on the possibility of putting one past his buddy tonight.

“Obviously I want to score,” Toffoli told Jon Rosen. “I want to score every night, but it’d be nice to score on Joner, too.”

“I’ll do what I can,” Jones said in reference to Toffoli’s snarky quote. “Obviously it’s going to be fun to play the old team. Those guys will be trying to score on me, but it’s going to be fun to play against them, for sure.”

Jones had a stellar preseason for the Sharks. In four starts, Jones went 3-1-0, posting a stalwart 0.76 GAA and a .970 SV%.

Whether the maintenance crew at STAPLES Center was just doing some elongated testing of the goal lamps this morning, or trying to find a way to toy with one of their old players, it made for quite the site this morning:

In 34 games and 29 starts for the Kings over the course of two seasons, Jones posted a 16-11-2 record, with a .923 SV% and a 1.99 GAA.

Jones made his mark in the league by winning each of his first eight NHL starts – and was only the second goalie in league history to accomplish that feat, tying Bo Froese’s record that was set during the 1982-’83 season.

And, of course, everyone will always remember his first NHL start – when he stopped all nine of Anaheim’s shootout attempts, piggybacking the Kings to a 3-2 win.

See you on the other side, friend.

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