Indoors or out, the Kings are hot
Participating in the NHL’s Stadium Series for the second straight season, the Kings took to the great outdoors at Levi’s Stadium and capitalized on a Sharks turnover in the third period to extend their winning streak to a season-best seven and climb to third place in the Pacific division. Hard to believe that only a few weeks ago they couldn’t score and couldn’t get out of their own way defensively, with team captain Dustin Brown saying they weren’t playing with emotion.
How do they explain that dramatic turnaround?
“Well, we've been very inconsistent this year,” said winger Marian Gaborik, who slapped/rifled the puck past Sharks goaltender Antti Niemi after Brent Burns turned it over. “The last seven games we played some good hockey. We played some Kings hockey like we know how to play, and we've been getting great goaltending throughout the team everybody is contributing.”
The Kings’ goaltending has been great and so has the penalty killing
The penalty killers were three for three on Saturday and are 22 for 25 over the last 11 games.
“I think since the break, our penalty kill has been better. But at the same time if you look at it, and it's probably going on around the league because there is more of a playoff atmosphere,” Coach Darryl Sutter said. “We've only had to kill two or three a game, and that is the big difference."
Sharks Coach Todd McLellan is a class act
He must have been devastated by a loss that left his team out of a playoff spot but he put on a good front and said he and his players were able to enjoy the spectacle of playing outdoors in front of 70,205 fans.
“Yeah, we all did. We were disappointed in the outcome. I'm not disappointed in the effort and what our group put into the game,” he said. “We would have preferred to win. It was a hard-fought game by two good teams that played a pretty even match. So the outcome is very disappointing, but everything else we're proud of. I think our city and Northern California has to be extremely proud. ...
“This was our show. These were our fans. This is Sharks territory, if you want, that's probably the best way to put it. They showed up in droves. I know there were Kings fans here, and there were just plain hockey fans. That's what made tonight so special. The fact we lost was disappointing. But to be part of it, I wouldn't trade it for anything.”