Los Angeles Kings Keys to Victory at San Jose Sharks

Here are a few keys to victory for the Los Angeles Kings tonight in their rivalry game against the San Jose Sharks up in the Bay Area.

Make Martin Jones Work in the Crease

This game is probably going to come down to which team gets more shots on goal. The Kings give up the least amount of shots per game, and the Sharks give up the second fewest shots per game. Martin Jones and Peter Budaj have identical save percentages at .919, and are the only qualified goalies ranking in the top 10 in GAA with that low of a save percentage. These two are rarely overwhelmed with a barrage of shots, and the numbers indicate that the difference might simply come down to which one is forced to do more in net.

Win Faceoffs

The Sharks rank just 28th in the league in their percentage of faceoffs won. The Kings can take advantage of extra possessions by getting the job done in the faceoff circle. Looking at the numbers of the primary faceoff guys for each team on even strength is eyebrow raising. The combined win percentage of Anze Kopitar, Jeff Carter, Nic Dowd, and Nick Shore is 50.7%. The combined win percentage of Joe Pavelski, Joe Thornton, Chris Tierney, and Logan Couture is 47.7%. Couture in particular has been uncharacteristically poor in the faceoff circle this season. He’s winning just 38.2% of his opportunities on even strength. He’s a career 49.3%, and he has never finished a season below 46.9%.

Don’t Let the Game Go Into Overtime

The Sharks have had 7 games tied at the end of regulation, and they’ve gone on to win 6 of those 7. The Kings have also had success in similar situations, going 7-4 this season in games ending with a tie after 3 periods. However, combined with the fact that the Sharks haven’t lost a home game in overtime or a shootout (3-0) and the Kings are 2-3 in situations like that on the road, it’s best to avoid giving the frenzied San Jose crowd a chance to energize their team with the game on the line.

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