Without Their Top Player, Kings Down Sharks in Game One

It’s not the player you’re thinking of. And it’s a different game one.

On October 16, 1991 the Los Angeles Kings were about to play host to the NHL’s newest team, the San Jose Sharks.

Shortly after the morning skate early that day, Wayne Gretzky received a phone call that his father was in the hospital after experiencing complications related to a brain aneurysm.

Then-owner Bruce McNall rushed the Great One home to Canada on a private jet to be by the side of his 53 year old father, Walter.

On the ice, coach Tom Webster had some shuffling to do. Obviously, when you’re without your number one center, it wreaks havoc to your entire line-up.

Webster put Tony Granato up front, between Mike Donnelly and Jari Kurri. Luc Robitaille and Dave Taylor now had John McIntyre as their center on the second line. And Bob Kudelski centered a line featuring Tomas Sandstrom and Ilkka Sinisalo at wing.

Kings goalie Kelly Hrudey gave up five goals to Sharks named Perry Anderson, Link Gaetz, Brian Lawton and Brian Mullen (2).

But, those were the good ol’ Smythe Division days when goals game in bunches.

The Kings matched their five with goals from Peter Ahola, Donnelly, Randy Gilhen and a pair from Luc Robitaille. However, the star of the night was that center playing with Sandstrom and Sinisalo…Kudelski scored a hat trick, giving the Kings an 8-5 victory in the first-ever game played between the two teams.

Now, nearly 20 years later, they’ll meet later tonight for the first time in the playoffs.

Just like that fateful night in 1991 though, the Kings are again without their top center.

History was made that first night. Can the Kings do it again?

A few other notes to finish off this look back in time…

– Even though there were 13 total goals scored in that first game, Robitaille had the only power play goal of the night. Yes, twelve (!) even strength goals.

– Gretzky returned to the Kings once his father’s condition stabilized (and ultimately improved). When the Sharks came back to the Forum on November 23, 1991 for their second game in LA, Gretzky greeted them with a hat trick of his own.

– The following year was one of the craziest Kings-Sharks games ever, when Robitaille, Kurri and Donnelly each picked up a hat trick. Their nine goals were part of an 11-4 win for the Kings, the most LA has ever scored against San Jose. It’s also the only time in Kings history three LA players have had hat tricks in the same game.

The Mayor
www.twitter.com/MayorNHL
www.facebook.com/MayorsManor   

RELATED ARTICLES:

Kings v Sharks Playoff Preview – Who will win and why

Interview with Luc Robitaille

Interview with Tony Granato

Interview with Kelly Hrudey

Interview with Sharks Captain Joe Thornton

Shop.NHL.com

Recent Articles

2015 NHL Draft - Rounds 2-7

At the NHL Draft Table with Mark Yannetti, Kings Director of Scouting

Coming out of last weekend’s NHL Draft and heading into next week’s Development Camp, we’re turning up the focus on our prospect coverage. For the Kings’ 2015 Draft class, the work is just about to begin, as they will get their first taste of what will be needed to hopefully reach the NHL someday. Behind-the-scenes, […]

TSN Radio

FREE REPLAY: Hoven on TSN Radio – Talking Sekera, Stoll, and Williams

Follow @MayorsManor Enjoy a free replay of John Hoven on TSN Radio in Winnipeg with Rick Ralph, where they discussed what the Milan Lucic trade means for the Los Angeles Kings, the team’s interest in signing Andrej Sekera, Jarret Stoll’s status heading into free agency, and more. You can give today’s segment a listen using […]

Kopitar-Anze-hockey-LA-Kings

FREE REPLAY: Hoven on Sportsnet, Talking Kopitar, Lucic, and Jones

Follow @MayorsManor Enjoy a free replay of John Hoven on Sportsnet Radio in Calgary with Pat Steinberg and Rob Kerr, where they discussed the latest on a possible contract extension for Anze Kopitar, Boston trading Milan Lucic to Los Angeles, the status of Andrej Sekera, what happened with Martin Jones, and more. You can give […]

Major News Items

Forbort AHL Burger King

LA Kings 2014-15 Midseason Prospect Rankings: The Top 5

Finally, the wait is over. With the Honorable Mentions and Nos. 6-10 prospects previously revealed in other articles, we are now prepared to share the final five players making up the latest edition of our L.A. Kings Top … [Read More...]

More Prospect News