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When will the San Jose Sharks-Los Angeles Kings rivalry be great again?

Curtis Pashelka, The Mercury News on

Published in Hockey

SAN JOSE, Calif. – A small but boisterous group of Los Angeles Kings fans took over a section in the upper deck of SAP Center. Their chants began before the game ever started, and only grew louder after their team scored a pair of first period goals against the San Jose Sharks 18 seconds apart.

It was one of the few reminders Thursday of the once-great rivalry that existed between the San Jose Sharks and Kings, one that’s gone mostly dormant in recent years.

The Sharks went on to lose 2-1 to the Kings on Thursday, marking their sixth loss in seven games to Los Angeles, which moved one step closer to clinching a playoff spot for the third straight season.

The Sharks, meanwhile, moved one step closer to officially finishing in 32nd place in the NHL’s overall standings.

Klim Kostin scored his eighth goal of the season with 1:52 left in the third period to cut the Kings’ lead to one. That certainly drew a rise out of the announced crowd of 12,266, but the Sharks could get no closer, as they lost for the 11th time in the last 12 games.

The Sharks and Kings met in the playoffs four times in six years between 2011 and 2016, paving the way for the geographical rivalry to become one of the most heated in the NHL. Full buildings, star players, deep teams, and all kinds of hate.

 

It was hard, heavy hockey as both teams gave no quarter, and didn’t ask for any in return. Just great theatre.

So, when will it happen again?

When both teams are good at the same time, which might not be for a while.

The Kings began their rebuild in 2018, turning over their roster as they began to refill the cupboard with prospects like Akil Thomas, who scored his first NHL goal Thursday, Arthur Kaliyev, Quinton Byfield (after winning a lottery), Alex Laferriere, and Brandt Clarke. They gave a big contract extension to Adrian Kempe, acquired Kevin Fiala via trade, and signed Phillip Danault as a free agent.

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