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Sharks vs Kings Preview: An important test in Los Angeles

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Sharks head to the City of Angels to clash with their division rival.

NHL: Los Angeles Kings at San Jose Sharks Andrew Villa-USA TODAY Sports

In the second game of a back-to-back, the San Jose Sharks (9-6) travel down to southern California to face their bitter rival Los Angeles Kings (11-3-2).

This is the second time these teams will face off this season, with Los Angeles taking the first meeting, on Oct. 7, by a final score of 4-1.

Despite the Kings successes so far, they enter this game coming off a 5-1 home loss on Thursday courtesy of the Tampa Bay Lightning while the Sharks, who also lost to the Lightning Wednesday, bounced back with a 5-0 shutout victory over the Vancouver Canucks last night.

San Jose goalie Martin Jones has been a stud through the first 15 games, ranking among the league’s best in all prominent categories; fourth in goals against average, tied for 10th in wins and tied 11th in save percentage. Though the offense is 26th in goals per game (2.6), the team has seen an uptick in the last six games, scoring 18 goals.

However, Los Angeles ranks ninth in goals per game and has regained form as one of the best teams in the NHL after missing the playoffs last year, and now see themselves currently atop the Pacific Division. Kopitar is one of the league’s top 10 point scorers (20) while Veteran goalie Jonathan Quick, like his counterpart, ranks among the league’s best tying for third in wins (nine of the team’s 11 wins), fifth in goals against average (2.29), and third in save percentage (.932).

One key to look out for in tonight’s match up is the importance of quality 5-on-5 chances. Both teams possess hot goalies, stingy defenses, and place first and second in penalty kill percentage, respectively, so power play goals could be scarce. But something’s got to give right?

Yes, it’s early in the season, but this is an important test for San Jose and could potentially be an opportunity to spark another win streak with their next four games coming against opponents below the seven win mark.

Aaron Dell started against the Canucks Saturday, so ‘Joner’ should be in net for San Jose.

The puck will drop at 7:30 p.m. Pacific time (10:30 p.m. ET) at Staples Center, expect this to be a fun, if not frustrating, one.