Programming note – Sharks-Kings coverage starts today at 7:30 on NBCSN
WHERE THEY STAND
Sharks: 26-16-2, 54 points, 3rd Pacific Division
Kings: 22-18-4, 48 points, 5th Pacific Division
PREGAME NEWS AND NOTES
***Logan Couture won’t play due to illness, so the Sharks will have three different lines for tonight (see below), leaving only the effective third line intact from Monday’s win over the Jets.
Ryan Carpenter will center the fourth line, playing in his first NHL game since he scored his first NHL goal on Nov. 30 in Los Angeles, a 4-1 Sharks win.
“Last NHL game I played, [left with] good feelings, and stuff,” said Carpenter, who was promptly reassigned to the Barracuda afterwards. “It’s nice to be back here, hopefully have the same outcome tonight and come away with a win.”
***It was just one week ago when the Sharks were tied with Anaheim atop the Pacific Division in points, with two games in hand on the Ducks. But after dropping consecutive games in regulation against the Flames and Blues, San Jose now finds itself five points behind Anaheim (with three games in hand) and one point behind the Oilers (with two games in hand) despite Monday’s win over the Jets.
They still have a decent cushion on the Kings, up by six points after 44 games apiece, but they’d like nothing more than to put some distance between themselves and a division rival. They failed to do that in Calgary last Wednesday.
“These are all critical games now, we’re at that time of the season,” DeBoer said. “You look at the standings, and we’ve lived it here a little bit the last couple weeks. You start to feel a little comfortable where you’re at, you lose a couple games, and all of a sudden you’re back in the pack. It’s going to be like that from now until the end.”
San Jose is 8-6-2 against the Pacific this season.
***This is the fifth and final game of the season series between the Sharks and Kings, who have split the first four. The Kings have won the previous two meetings, including Jan. 3 at SAP Center, 2-1 in overtime.
This will be the Sharks’ final trip of the regular season to Southern California, as they have just one games left with the Ducks at SAP Center.
KEEP AN EYE ON...
Sharks: Chris Tierney. The Sharks’ third line center posted his first multiple-point game of the season on Monday against Winnipeg, with a goal and an assist. That ended a stretch of just one assist in 13 games for Tierney. The Sharks have surely been looking for a bit more production from the 22-year-old, now in his third season, so perhaps be can build off of his most recent performance.
Kings: Tanner Pearson. The winger has at least one point in eight of his last 12 games, and scored the overtime winner against the Sharks on Jan. 3 at SAP Center. His 13 goals on the season is second on the team only to Jeff Carter’s 23, while his plus-nine rating leads the Kings.
Melker Karlsson – Joe Thornton – Joe Pavelski
Kevin Labanc – Patrick Marleau – Mikkel Boedker
Timo Meier – Chris Tierney – Joel Ward
Micheal Haley – Ryan Carpenter – Tommy Wingels
Paul Martin – Brent Burns
Marc-Edouard Vlasic – Justin Braun
Brenden Dillon – David Schlemko
Martin Jones (starter)
Marian Gaborik – Anze Kopitar – Trevor Lewis
Tanner Pearson – Jeff Carter – Dustin Brown
Dwight King – Nic Dowd – Devin Setoguchi
Kyle Clifford – Nick Shore – Jordan Nolan
Derek Forbort – Drew Doughty
Jake Muzzin – Alec Martinez
Kevin Gravel – Matt Greene
Sharks: Logan Couture (illness), Joonas Donskoi (upper body), Dylan DeMelo (broken wrist) and Tomas Hertl (right knee sprain) are out.
Kings: Jonathan Quick (groin) and Tyler Toffoli (lower body) are out.
“I’m trying not to try too much. Just do the little things, keep working hard, have fun out there, and enjoy the process.” – Timo Meier