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
|1st in Pacific||Rank||2nd in Pacific
Projected Sharks Lines
Tomas Hertl – Joe Thornton – Joe Pavelski
Matt Nieto – Patrick Marleau – Joel Ward
Joonas Donskoi – Logan Couture – Tommy Wingels
Melker Karlsson – Chris Tierney – Mike Brown
Marc-Edouard Vlasic – Justin Braun
Paul Martin – Brent Burns
Brenden Dillon – Dylan DeMelo
Projected Kings Lines
Milan Lucic – Anze Kopitar – Tyler Toffoli
Dwight King – Jeff Carter – Dustin Brown
Trevor Lewis – Vincent Lecavalier – Marian Gaborik
Andy Andreoff – Nick Shore – Tanner Pearson
Jake Muzzin – Drew Doughty
Alec Martinez – Jamie McBain
Brayden McNabb – Luke Schenn
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.
- 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.