The Sharks and Kings play for the fifth and final time this regular season at 7:30 p.m. PT at Staples Center tonight because the NHL can’t, for the life of it, figure out how to build a competent schedule. So when Jonathan Quick injured himself during L.A.’s season opening loss? Yeah, that could be the last time San Jose fans see the netminder until next season — unless the teams meet in the postseason, of course.
The game, which will be on NBC Sports for rivalry night, closes out the season series currently tied at two-games apiece. Each team holds five points in the series, which makes tonight game winner take all if you care about that sort of thing. I don’t, really, but I’ll at least fake it for the game preview. How am I doing?
San Jose bounced back from a two-game losing streak to emphatically beat Winnipeg 5-2 on Monday; and frankly it wasn’t even that close. L.A. lost to Tampa 3-2 on Monday but have won three of their last five. Two of those wins have come in overtime against Minnesota and Winnipeg.
San Jose sits in third in the Pacific while the Kings are currently in a Wild Card spot and six points behind the Sharks in the standings. Both teams have played 44 games, a fair amount fewer than the teams they’re chasing. This is the first of a back-to-back for the Sharks who play Tampa on Wednesday while the Kings get a pair of days off before heading to New York to play the recently head coachless Islanders.
The Sharks are (mostly) healthy again, though Joonas Donskoi may remain out of the lineup for a third-straight game with an upper body injury. If that’s the case don’t expect any changes to a lineup that clicked on Monday.
Both of the Sharks’ losses to the Kings this year have been of the one-goal variety, though one wasn’t as close as the score would have you believe (the last one) and one of the wins got a little dicey (the one in L.A.). They all count, right?