Sharks-Kings Preview

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.