December 19, 2013; Los Angeles, CA, USA; San Jose Sharks center Tyler Kennedy (81) moves the puck out of the defensive zone against the Los Angeles Kings during the first period at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

San Jose Sharks Take On Kings In Telling Game: Game Preview


With the San Jose Sharks’ chances of winning the Pacific Division getting slimmer by each passing day, the likelihood of a first round matchup in the playoffs against the Los Angeles Kings becomes stronger and stronger.

Which is why Thursday night’s meeting between the Sharks and Kings becomes a telling game for the potential grueling playoff series to come.

Speaking of the playoffs, the Kings clinched a spot in the postseason with a victory over the Coyotes on Wednesday night. While they are nine points behind the Sharks, they have been on a tear lately (7-3 in last 10 games), and will be a force to be reckoned with come playoff time.

San Jose, meanwhile, is struggling. The Sharks have dropped four of their last six, including bad losses to the Flames, Jets, and Avalanche. While they did beat the Oilers on Tuesday night, it was clear they did not bring their “A-game,” having to squeak out a 5-4 win.

This season, the Kings have had the upper hand in the rivalry, winning three of four matchups against the Sharks thus far.

Tale of the Tape

Sharks:

  • Goals for per game: 2.95 (7th)
  • Goals against per game: 2.35 (4th)
  • Shots per game: 35.0 (1st)
  • Shots against per game: 27.7 (6th)
  • Penalty minutes: 705 (5th)
  • Power play percentage: 17.3% (19th)
  • Penalty kill percentage: 84.1% (8th)

Kings:

  • Goals for per game: 2.44 (T-25th)
  • Goals against per game: 2.05 (1st)
  • Shots per game: 31.4 (8th)
  • Shots against per game: 26.4 (3rd)
  • Penalty minutes: 848 (20th)
  • Power play percentage: 15.6% (26th)
  • Penalty kill percentage: 83.1% (12th)

Top Performers

Sharks: Joe Pavelski (38 G, 37 A), Joe Thornton (11 G, 63 A), Patrick Marleau (32 G, 34 A)

Kings: Anze Kopitar (25 G, 40 A). Jeff Carter (27 G, 22 A), Mike Richards (11 G, 30 A)

Injury Report

Sharks: Tomas Hertl (knee), Adam Burish (hand) and Raffi Torres (knee) are out.

Kings: Dwight King (undisclosed) is day-to-day

Probable Lines

SAN JOSE (47-20-9)

Forwards

Pavelski-Thornton-Burns

Marleau-Couture-Nieto

Havlat-Sheppard-Wingels

Kennedy-Desjardins-Brown

Defensemen

Vlasic-Demers

Irwin-Boyle

Stuart-Braun

Goalies

Niemi

Stalock

LOS ANGELES (45-26-6)

Forwards

Gaborik-Kopitar-Williams

Pearson-Carter-Toffoli

Nolan-Stoll-Brown

Clifford-Richards-Lewis

Defensemen

Muzzin-Doughty

Regehr-Voynov

Martinez-Mitchell

Goalies

Quick

Jones

Game Info

Opening Face-off: 7:30pm PST

Location: Staples Center, Los Angeles CA

TV: NBCSN

Tags: San Jose Sharks