SAN JOSE – The Sharks, who unveiled their shiny new Western Conference Champions banner on Wednesday night, are well aware that the road back to the Stanley Cup Final will be a long one. A win over their biggest rival in front of a raucous sellout crowd at SAP Center, though, is a solid first step.
Brent Burns’ tiebreaking goal early in the third period put San Jose ahead to stay in a 2-1 triumph over the Kings. Not only did the Kings suffer a season-opening loss to the Sharks for the third straight season, but goalie Jonathan Quick left after the first period with what could be a significant injury.
Burns, who finished third in Norris Trophy voting last season, found a loose puck between the circles and whizzed it past Jeff Zatkoff at 3:20 of the final frame. Joonas Donskoi was trying to feed Mikkel Boedker on a pass through the slot, but it deflected off of Drew Doughty to Burns’ stick as the defenseman crept in from high in the zone.
San Jose has won its last seven season openers, the longest active streak in the NHL. The Sharks are 9-1-1 overall in their last 11 openers, including 5-0 at home.
Martin Jones allowed the first shot he saw to get past him before shutting the door. On a Kings power play, Tyler Toffoli found a small space over Jones’ near shoulder and lifted it into the twine just 1:22 into the game.
The Kings continued pressuring the Sharks for the next few shifts, but San Jose controlled the final half of the opening period. A power play goal from Logan Couture on a buzzing wrist shot from the high slot tied the score at 14:05.
The Sharks registered the final 11 shots of the first period, and in the closing seconds Quick seemingly hurt himself protecting the goal line on a Joe Pavelski wraparound try. Quick did not return for the second period with a lower body injury, replaced by newcomer Zatkoff.
Quick made 14 saves on 15 shots before his exit. According to the official team website, his time on the shelf “could be awhile.”
San Jose was 1-for-3 on the power play, while the Kings cashed in on their only chance early in the game. All of the penalties occurred in the first period, including coincidental minors on Quick and Pavelski after Couture’s goal
For the second straight season, Jones allowed a goal on his first shot. On Oct. 7, 2015, he couldn’t stop a Nick Shore deflection early in the first period of an eventual 5-1 Sharks win in Los Angeles. He secured the win with 21 saves.
Zatkoff, who signed as a free agent with the Kings out of Pittsburgh over the summer, took the loss with just one goal allowed on 16 shots.
Boedker and defenseman David Schlemko made their debuts for San Jose after signing as free agents in the offseason.
Among the players dressing for the Kings was former Sharks forward Devin Setoguchi, who signed a one-year deal after a training camp tryout. The Kings were without the injured Marian Gaborik and suspended Tanner Pearson.
The best team on the road last season, the Sharks will get tested right away on a five-game trip against the Eastern Conference. It begins on Saturday in Columbus, and continues to New York, Brooklyn, Pittsburgh and Detroit.
San Jose does not have another home game until Oct. 25 against Anaheim.