The San Jose Sharks have won six straight while the travel-weary Los Angeles Kings are losers of five in a row.
San Jose will have home-ice advantage Monday night, and it will also probably have some extra incentive.
These Pacific Division rivals are headed in opposite directions and will meet for the first time since Kings captain Dustin Brown was ejected for a knee-on-knee hit on Sharks rookie sensation Tomas Hertl last month.
There hasn’t been a regulation win by the visiting team in the last 16 regular-season matchups, including the Kings’ 4-1 victory Dec. 19.
That meeting was memorable since Hertl was injured in a first-period collision with Brown and has yet to play after undergoing surgery.
A bitter Sharks general manager Doug Wilson felt Brown and the Kings did not show much concern for Hertl afterward. Brown claims the hit wasn’t intentional.
San Jose (34-12-6) last won seven straight March 25-April 5. Los Angeles last dropped six in a row as part of an eight-game slide Dec. 12-26, 2007.
Los Angeles (29-18-6) is 0-3-4 in its last seven regular-season games at San Jose, with the last five decided by one goal. The Kings are 0-5-4 in their last nine at the building dubbed the "Shark Tank," including three defeats in last year’s postseason.
The home team has captured the last 15 overall meetings, including all seven in that series.
San Jose seeks to cap a perfect four-game homestand after Saturday’s 3-2 win over Minnesota on Joe Thornton’s overtime goal. Joe Pavelski assisted on both of Thornton’s goals in a bit of a role reversal after Thornton helped set up 10 of his 19 goals in the previous 21 games.
”I’ve been telling Pav, ‘You’ve been scoring too much. Start passing the puck.’ And he finally listened,” Thornton said. ”I don’t too often, but Pav just made two good plays and luckily I put them in.”
Pavelski has seven goals and three assists during a five-game point streak, and that kind of production can only make Los Angeles envious.
The Kings have gone five periods without scoring after Saturday’s 3-0 loss to Anaheim at Dodger Stadium.
”As for us not scoring goals, it’s been a constant theme, and it’s getting embarrassing,” defenseman Drew Doughty said. ”So we need to pick up our socks, and everyone needs to get hungry around the net and score goals.”
That contest was a home game that followed five in a row on the road for the Kings, who also visit Phoenix on Tuesday before returning to Staples Center for the first time since Jan. 13 on Thursday against Pittsburgh.
"We really didn’t come home," coach Darryl Sutter said. "We came and played here, and now we go back out, so it’s a tough schedule."
The Sharks aren’t taking anything for granted after playing their fourth straight one-goal game at home Saturday.
"We can’t fall into a trap where we get sleepy, lazy, nonchalant just because we’re at home," coach Todd McLellan said. "Teams are competing hard and we’ve got to match that."
The Sharks have killed off all 16 penalties in their last seven home games while the Kings are in an 0-for-11 drought on the power play.