The San Jose Sharks feel they are still playing well even after
a loss. The same can’t be said for the Los Angeles Kings, who are
hoping some revamped lines will get their offense going.
The visiting Sharks and Kings meet for the second time this
season Monday night after these Pacific Division rivals played a
competitive playoff series last spring.
San Jose (13-6-1) had its four-game win streak snapped with
Saturday’s 3-2 home loss to Vancouver. The Sharks, though, were
thrilled with the effort after outshooting the Canucks 45-27.
“It’s probably the best game we’ve played in the last five and
it’s the one we happened to lose,” coach Todd McLellan said. “There
are some things that showed up in tonight’s game that we’ve been
working on the last couple days.”
Los Angeles (11-8-4), meanwhile, lost for the third time in four
games Saturday, 2-1 to Chicago. The Kings have seven goals in that
The lack of firepower prompted coach Terry Murray to create new
line combinations for this contest. His first three lines will be
different, most notably the first one with leading scorer Anze
Kopitar getting new linemates in Dustin Brown and Trent Hunter.
“We need something going on the offensive part of it,” Murray
said. “It starts with shots.”
Shooting isn’t a problem for San Jose, which is second in the
league with 34.3 shots on goal per game. The Sharks outshot the
Kings 38-31 in a 4-2 home victory Nov. 7.
“The Sharks are rolling right now,” Murray said. “They’re really
strong. I watched them play the other night on a pre-scout, and
they’ve got it going.”
The Kings are wary of a San Jose power play that is converting
21.3 percent of its chances. The Sharks went 1 for 6 in the first
meeting, and although they were just 2 for 23 against the Kings in
last season’s playoffs, they eliminated Los Angeles in six
“They’re big, they’re strong,” Murray said. “They’ve got all
parts of it clicking. Their power play is absolutely outstanding,
and that’s something we have to be very careful of against San
The Sharks own the NHL’s best road record at 7-2-0. They went
1-0-2 at Staples Center during the 2010-11 regular season before
winning all three road games in the playoff series.
Kopitar, who missed that series with a broken ankle, has one
goal and no assists in his last four contests. He has gone without
a point in his last four home games against the Sharks.
The Kings’ star believes the team’s recent approach has not been
“There’s no secret to it,” Kopitar said. “You just have to get
more shots on net. You have to keep it simple – take the shot and
not try to be too cute.”
Neither team’s goalie played particularly well in the postseason
series, with Antti Niemi posting a 3.99 goals-against average and
Jonathan Quick finishing at 3.16. Niemi made 29 saves and Quick 34
in the first meeting this season.