Kings fall to Sharks, 4-0, on banner night in Staples Center

And so, the weaknesses of the Kings have been exposed to the world.

Banner nights are not followed by banner days on the ice.


Twice, their Stanley Cup banner-raising ceremony has been followed by a sluggish pratfall in the season opener. This time, the San Jose Sharks beat them, 4-0, behind two goals from Tommy Wingels and two assists from Brent Burns.

This quickly punctured the celebratory atmosphere in Staples Center on Wednesday night, quieting the building and sending many folks home early.

Sharks goalie Antti Niemi faced 34 shots. Niemi was the subject of much criticism in the spring after the Kings' historic comeback in the first round of the playoffs, rallying from a 3-0 series deficit against the Sharks.

But on this night you could say the Sharks were in the role so effectively played by the Blackhawks on Jan. 19, 2013 when Chicago put a damper on the Kings' banner-raising afternoon, celebrating their 2012 Cup victory. The Kings were rusty and fell behind, 3-0, before the game hit the 15-minute mark and went on to lose, 5-2.

This was just as dismal, if not more.

They were keenly aware of what happened against the Blackhawks after the banner-raising ceremony and vowed it would not happen again. Defenseman Drew Doughty said Tuesday that the coaches and players would have a new approach.

The new approach looked a lot like the old one.

"You can't allow those breakdowns," defenseman Alec Martinez said.

He refused to put the blame on the distractions around the event, saying, "That's an excuse. We just didn't come prepared to play. We didn't come out the way we needed to."

Goalie Jonathan Quick lacked sharpness and was replaced by Martin Jones for third period. Jones had little work in his limited appearance, facing three shots on goal.

Quick faced 27 shots and gave up four goals, including two in a 14-second span late in the second period as the Sharks took a 4-0 lead. The fourth one came at 16 minutes 4 seconds of the second period when Quick's stick-handling miscue behind the net enabled Patrick Marleau to set up Matt Nieto.

Often, Quick starts slowly. He was pulled twice in his first six starts last season and he is coming off wrist surgery in June, having suffered the ligament injury in the second round of the playoffs against the Ducks.

Near the end of preseason, Quick got into significant parts of three games, playing seven periods.

The second Sharks goal came on a power play, by Marleau at 3:20 of the second period, and Wingels scored on a breakaway at 15:50, getting behind defensemen Doughty and Brayden McNabb.


McNabb, who played 37 games with the Buffalo Sabres, made his Kings' debut, taking the place of Doughty's usual partner, Jake Muzzin.

Muzzin, who took part in the morning skate, suffered an undisclosed upper-body injury on the recently completed preseason trip to San Jose, Colorado Springs, Colo., and Las Vegas, Kings assistant general manager Rob Blake said.

This hastened the Kings' debut of McNabb, who recorded 23-plus minutes of playing time and was a minus-one.

The injury to Muzzin is understood not to be serious and Blake had considered him questionable for the season opener.

Follow Lisa Dillman on Twitter @reallisa