In the Crease: From 'cute' back to 'shoot'
The Sharks have beaten the Kings nine straight times at SAP Center, including three games in the 2013 postseason. (USATSI)
Programming note: Kings-Sharks coverage starts at 7 p.m. with Sharks Pregame Live, only on Comcast SportsNet California
Where they stand
Sharks: 15-3-5, 35 points, 2nd Pacific Division, 4th Western Conference
Kings: 16-6-3, 35 points, 3rd Pacific Division, 5th Western Conference
Goals per game: 3.39 (3rd)
Goals-against per game: 2.09 (5th)
Power play: 19.6 percent (13th)
Penalty kill: 82.3 percent (16th)
Goals per game: 2.52 (20th)
Goals-against per game: 2.08 (4th)
Power play: 18.3 percent (17th)
Penalty kill: 83.8 percent (11th)
Tomas Hertl – Joe Thornton – Brent Burns
Patrick Marleau – Logan Couture – Tommy Wingels
Marty Havlat – Joe Pavelski – Tyler Kennedy
James Sheppard – Andrew Desjardins – Mike Brown
Matt Irwin – Dan Boyle
Marc-Edouard Vlasic – Justin Braun
Scott Hannan – Brad Stuart
Antti Niemi (confirmed starter)
Dustin Brown – Anze Kopitar – Justin Williams
Dwight King – Mike Richards – Jeff Carter
Kyle Clifford – Linden Vey – Tyler Toffoli
Dan Carcillo – Jarrett Stoll – Jordan Nolan
Jake Muzzin – Drew Doughty
Robyn Regehr – Slava Voynov
Alec Martinez – Willie Mitchell
Sharks: The Sharks improved to 2-0 on their season-long five-game homestand with a win over the Devils on Saturday, 2-1. Scott Hannan and Tyler Kennedy scored first period goals, and Antti Niemi made 18 saves. San Jose is 5-1-1 in its last seven games overall, and has outscored its opponents 32-12 in the first period. St. Louis and Anaheim visit later this week on Friday and Saturday, respectively.
Kings: Los Angeles beat Vancouver on Monday, 3-2, thanks to Mike Richards’ late goal and Anze Kopitar’s overtime marker. It was the fourth straight road win for the Kings, who are 7-0-3 in their last 10 overall. Goaltender Ben Scrivens continued to impress in place of an injured Jonathan Quick, and is 5-0-2 since Quick went out with a groin injury.
Keep an eye on…
Sharks: Tyler Kennedy. The Sharks winger brings a three-game point streak into tonight’s game (1g, 2a), after scoring his third goal against the Devils on Saturday on a slick feed from Marty Havlat. Along with Joe Pavelski, it was that trio’s second game together, and first time it has generated a goal. Kennedy has 10 points (3g, 7a) in 23 games in his first season with the Sharks.
Kings: Jeff Carter. One of the best pure goal-scorers in the NHL, Carter recently returned from a foot injury. In 15 games, Carter has five goals and five assists for 10 points. In 14 career games against the Sharks, he has six goals and two assists for eight points, including a hat trick while a member of the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Sharks: Raffi Torres (right ACL surgery) and Adam Burish (back surgery) are out.
Kings: Jonathan Quick (groin strain) and Matt Greene (upper body) are out.
The Sharks have beaten the Kings nine straight times at SAP Center, including three games in the postseason in 2013. Los Angeles has not won here in the regular season since Dec. 27, 2010, a span of six games (0-3-3).
The teams meet three more times: Dec. 19 in Los Angeles, and Jan. 27 and April 3 at San Jose. The Kings won the first game of the season series, 4-3, on Oct. 30 at Staples Center on Anze Kopitar’s overtime goal.
The Sharks are 65-48-7-7 against the Kings all-time.
“We just all enjoy playing for each other. With Burnzie’s size, he’s usually going to separate the man from the puck, and I just grab the puck. It’s going to continue to get better for us, and it’s a lot of fun playing with those two guys for me.” – Joe Thornton, on playing with Brent Burns and Tomas Hertl
Is this the biggest game of the season so far? Why or why not?
Leave your answer in the comments section below.