SAN JOSE -- Rugged forward Raffi Torres and rookie Tomas Hertl were in the Sharks lineup together Thursday night for the first time all season, and both made in impact in Game 1 against the Los Angeles Kings.
"They just bring a lot of energy," captain Joe Thornton said before the game. "With those two guys in the lineup, it definitely gives us a punch in the shoulder."
It also gave the Sharks a pair of goals over the first two periods as Hertl scored at 19:08 of the first and Torres at 12:57 of the second. Torres also had six hits in the game, a good sign that he wasn't letting lingering knee soreness alter his style of play.
"Both are very important players on this team, and we really didn't know if we were going to get them back this year," Thornton said. "We have them both back now, and it's a huge time of the year."
Torres missed the first 59 games of the season after a preseason knee injury in a game against the Anaheim Ducks required surgery. He played five of six games after the Olympic break but hadn't skated in a game since March 8.
Hertl missed 45 games after a knee-on-knee hit from Kings captain Dustin Brown in a Dec. 19 game, but he did return for the final two games of the regular season.
From coach Todd McLellan's perspective, the return of Torres and Hertl "creates some competitiveness amongst our group, and it also allows us to look at different ingredients to make changes as we move forward. The lineup we start with may very well change in Game 2, win or lose. It could be that way for seven games."
The power was restored to the point that the Sharks and Kings came out for warmups at 7:10 p.m., 10 minutes later than scheduled. At this time, the cause of the outage is unknown.
The arena was closer to business as usual at 7:25 p.m. when announcer Danny Miller's booming voice came over the public address system just as the final players were leaving the ice after warmups.
A similar outage occurred at the team's home opener on Oct. 13, 2007, against the Boston Bruins, a game that was played after about a 30-minute delay.
"It's pretty crazy, but it's fun," the 21-year-old forward said. "Any time you play a hometown team you watch growing up, it's pretty cool. I'm pretty excited."
Nieto said he probably had gone to a playoff game or two in Los Angeles.
"Probably between the ages of eight to 12, I went to a lot of games," he said. "A buddy who I played minor hockey with had season tickets, so I would go quite often."
"He's our go-to guy. Simple as that," the coach said of his netminder, who had struggled at times down the stretch. "He has been our go-to guy for four years, he's our go-to guy in Game 1. I can tell you this, there wasn't near the amount of debate with the four of us in the coaches' room as there was with a whole bunch of you outside the coaches' room. But it was fun."