Kings win it in Levi’s Stadium

Listen to this article

If NHL fans were looking for a high scoring game at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara Saturday, they were disappointed. But, if they wanted a close game with lots of incredible skating, they got exactly what they were hoping to see. Here in the latest game of the Coors Light Stadium Series, the visiting L.A. Kings played nearly to a draw with their host, the San Jose Sharks.

Sharks fans1After all the pre-game festivities were over the rivalry took to the ice one more time, the fourth game this season between San Jose and Los Angeles.

The Kings got on the board early with a nine-foot goal by Kyle Clifford, assisted by Jake Muzzin. The game was less than three minutes old at that point.

Just over three minutes later Brendon Dillon of the Sharks got a two-minute penalty for holding Marion Gaborik, sending the Kings into their first power play, but they were unable to turn that advantage into a score.

With a minute left in the period Brent Burns score from 43 feet, assisted by Tommy Wingels, tying up the game.

The Geico Gekko was at the Spectator Plaza on Saturday.
The Geico Gekko was at the Spectator Plaza on Saturday.

The second period stayed scoreless, despite three power plays in the period. The Sharks had the advantage twice and the Kings once. Like the first period, there were some hard hits and great skating on ice that had been out in the sun for the day. During practice the players said the ice was a little slushy, that it was like playing on outdoor rinks when they were kids. That could be a reason the score stayed so low; the puck travels differently and of course it affects the skating too.

Four minutes into the third period Marion Gaborik scored from 39 feet with an assist from Jeff Carter. It was Gaborik’s 17th goal of the season and Carter’s 28th assist.

The Sharks weren’t able to counter with a goal and the Kings won it, 2-1.

Statistically, San Jose out-skated L.A. they made more attempts on the goal, more hits and takeaways, and the Kings has more penalty minutes, but the Sharks were just not able to convert much of their advantage into scores. Now in their season series with one another, L.A. and San Jose are tied, 2-2.

The Sharks do not have a clear advantage over their biggest rivals, which they could have proved with a win. With this game the Kings move up into 3rd place in the division and the Sharks stay in 5th place. The Kings have now won seven in a row and they are building on that momentum.

Fformer Sharks players being honored before the game.
Fformer Sharks players being honored before the game.

It was a great game outdoors in Levi’s Stadium, a big and special event for the fans and players.

After the game Kings head coach Darryl Sutter talked about how last year they played in an historic old building, Dodger Stadium and this year they played in a beautiful new stadium. He then said most players will never have the opportunity to play outdoors, especially two years in a row. Sharks and Kings fans might not have this opportunity again for a long, long time. But they will have this rivalry for years to come.

(All photos by Claudia Gestro)