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Sharks vs. Kings Preview: The big test

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Can the Sharks handle the biggest test of their points streak?

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

In yesterday's preview, I wrote about the Sharks' tough test in the Minnesota Wild. That was more like a practice test compared to what faces San Jose today. While both teams are on the second of a back to back, there's no team more dangerous in the NHL than Los Angeles.

The Kings may have struggled of late (going 5-4-1 in their last 10) but with a league-leading fenwick-for percentage (5v5) this Los Angeles team is just as dangerous as it's always been. San Jose won the last meeting between the two teams 5-3 thanks to not convincing back-to-back penalty calls that the Kings' faithful will be all to happy to remind you about.

Martin Jones is back in net for the Sharks, which is almost certainly a bad move, but an unsurprising one. You can argue the difference between 48 hours between starts at 30, but Jones in net speaks to two things: 1) The lack of faith in Alex Stalock and 2) How desperate the Sharks are to catch the Kings. How much better the first seed is than the second seed in the Pacific given the relative weakness of the division is up for debate, but San Jose's intentions are pretty clear here.

Tale Of The Tape
Kings

@

San Jose Sharks
29-15-3 Record 25-8-3
1st in Pacific Rank 2nd in Pacific
55.6%
Score-Adj. Fenwick 52.7%
100.1
PDO 99.8
21.1
PP% 21.9
81.8
PK% 79.4

7PM PDT | SAP Center | San Jose
TV: NHL-N, SN1 | Radio: SJSharks.com98.5 KFOX
Know Your Enemy: Jewels From The Crown

Projected Sharks Lines
Tomas HertlJoe ThorntonJoe Pavelski
Matt NietoPatrick MarleauJoel Ward
Joonas DonskoiLogan CoutureTommy Wingels
Melker KarlssonChris TierneyMike Brown
Marc-Edouard VlasicJustin Braun
Paul MartinBrent Burns
Brenden DillonDylan DeMelo
Martin Jones
Alex Stalock
Projected Kings Lines
Milan Lucic – Anze Kopitar – Tyler Toffoli
Dwight KingJeff CarterDustin Brown
Trevor Lewis – Vincent Lecavalier – Marian Gaborik
Andy AndreoffNick Shore – Tanner Pearson
Jake Muzzin – Drew Doughty
Alec MartinezJamie McBain
Brayden McNabb – Luke Schenn
Jonathan Quick
Jhonas Enroth

Last Meeting

A pair of back-to-back power-play goals gave the Sharks a 5-3 win over the Kings in a game they trailed by two goals in twice.

Storylines

  • A win today would put the Sharks six points back of first place with a game in hand.
  • San Jose has won seven of its last eight and is riding an eight-game point streak.
  • The Pavelski-Thornton-Hertl goal was excellent against the Wild, worth keeping an eye on them today against tougher competition.