Jonathan Quick wasted little time putting his injury-plagued 2016-17 campaign behind him, recording his 45th shutout after turning aside all 35 shots he faced in the season opener. The two-time Vezina Trophy finalist looks to turn up the heat on his hot start Saturday as the Los Angeles Kings visit the Pacific Division-rival San Jose Sharks.
“He’s unbelievable. ... We see it every day at practice and it’s almost like you get used to it. It’s nice to have him back.” forward Trevor Lewis said of Quick, who stood tall with 17 saves in the third period to cement the Kings’ 2-0 win over Philadelphia on Thursday. Lewis collected his 14th game-winning goal of his career to get off on the right foot after netting a personal-best 12 tallies last season. Kevin Labanc notched his second career two-goal performance on Wednesday, but was left lamenting the three minor penalties he committed that turned into tallies in the Sharks’ 5-3, season-opening setback to the Flyers. “That shouldn’t have happened,” the 21-year-old Labanc said, “and they scored off them so I’ve got to be a little bit more disciplined and watch where I put my stick.”
TV: 10:30 p.m. ET, NHL.TV, FSN West (Los Angeles), NBCSN California (San Jose)
ABOUT THE KINGS (1-0-0): New coach John Stevens’ top priority is to squeeze more offense from his team, outside of the famed “That 70s Line” of Jeff Carter, Tanner Pearson and Tyler Toffoli - which accounted for one goal and two assists in the opener. Captain Anze Kopitar is looking to bounce back from a challenging 2016-17 season in which he had just 52 points and a minus-10 rating, while top free-agent acquisition Michael Cammalleri, 35, aims to show he has more in the tank after signing a one-year, $1 million contract in July. “You see there’s a little bit of offensive chemistry where they know where each other are,” new coach John Stevens said of the line consisting of Kopitar, Cammalleri and Dustin Brown.
ABOUT THE SHARKS (0-1-0): Martin Jones stumbled out of the blocks by yielding four goals on 30 shots versus the Flyers, but was significantly better in five encounters against Los Angeles last season. The 27-year-old turned aside 126 of 135 shots to post a 3-1-1 mark with a 1.81 goals-against average versus the Kings. Reigning Norris Trophy winner Brent Burns, who had a game-winning goal among his three tallies versus Los Angeles, notched an assist in the third period of the season opener for his 500th career point.
1. San Jose C Logan Couture gashed Los Angeles for four goals and two assists in four encounters last season.
2. The Kings struggled against Pacific Division representatives in 2016-17, posting a 12-14-3 mark.
3. Sharks C Joe Thornton, who set up a goal in the season opener, had four assists versus Los Angeles last season.
PREDICTION: Sharks 2, Kings 1