Last time these teams met the Kings beat the Sharks 4-1 on the scoreboard, but it was the loss of Tomas Hertl to injury that was the story of the game. Since their last meeting the Kings have suffered mightily in the puck luck department. They have lost five games in a row despite remaining the best puck possession team in the league (by the numbers, anyway).
Tonight San Jose can put even more distance between themselves and the third-place Kings as the Sharks shoot for their seventh-straight win. Alex Stalock will start for the Sharks, seeking his third-straight shutout. It's no surprise to see Stalock given additional starts given his recent play, and there's a chance McLellan wants to get him some work against a potential playoff opponent.
The Sharks haven't had a comfortable victory since their 3-0 drubbing of the Florida Panthers 11 days ago and they probably won't find one in San Jose tonight. We're all very familiar with the Kings style of play, and even when they're not scoring goals they're an extremely hard team to crack. The Joe's continuing their hot play would go a long way in ensuring the Sharks a favorable result tonight.
At this point the Kings are effectively out of the division playoff race, barring a spectacular Anaheim collapse (please god let it happen). Of course if the playoffs started today, Los Angeles would start the playoffs against the St. Louis Blues, a matchup that the Kings have dominated lately. The Kings are one of the best teams in the league and are going to shake this slump eventually -- let's hope that they choose to do it some other night.
|29-18-6, 64 points
||34-12-6, 74 points|
|3rd in Pacific
||2nd in Pacific
Projected Sharks Lineup
Joe Pavelski - Joe Thornton - Brent Burns
Matt Nieto - Patrick Marleau - Tommy Wingels
Bracken Kearns - Andrew Desjardins - Tyler Kennedy
Mike Brown - John McCarthy - Eriah Hayes
Marc-Edouard Vlasic - Jason Demers
Brad Stuart - Justin Braun
Matt Irwin - Dan Boyle