Kings Try To Keep it Rolling in the Tank
By Tom Castro, STATS
The surprising Los Angeles Kings are alone atop the Pacific Division
thanks to a four-game winning streak. A third straight victory over the
San Jose Sharks will keep them there.
The Kings look to keep rolling when they take on a surging Sharks club Wednesday night at HP Pavilion.
Los Angeles (8-4-0) scored 20 goals in winning its last four contests
after a three-game losing streak. The Kings' latest victory, 6-2 over
Columbus on Sunday, kept them one point ahead of the Sharks for the
Anze Kopitar scored his
ninth and 10th goals to continue his outstanding start as the Kings
avenged a 4-1 defeat to the Blue Jackets on Oct. 17.
"The game in Columbus, we were not happy with how it went for us,"
coach Terry Murray told the team's official Web site, "so coming out
early, starting with the way we finished the game last night, and
getting the first goal, was important. The game was what you want, what
you ask for."
Kopitar has five goals and
three assists in his last three games. He leads the NHL with 21 points
and is tied for the lead in goals.
fourth-year center recorded a goal and two assists in the first matchup
of the season with the Sharks, a 6-4 Kings victory at Staples Center on
Oct. 6. Those were his first points against San Jose in six games.
The Sharks (7-4-1) defeated Philadelphia 4-1 on Sunday to keep pace
with Los Angeles. Manny Malhotra got his first two goals of the season
and Dany Heatley and Jed Ortmeyer also scored as San Jose finished a
six-game road trip with four wins in the final five contests.
"It's great to get the win as it made our road trip," Malhotra said.
"We played a lot of tough teams to go 4-2, but it's nice to score, too."
The Sharks turned in the impressive defensive effort behind backup
goaltender Thomas Greiss, who stopped 37 shots. Greiss played in only
his second game of the season, sparing Evgeni Nabokov a third game in
"He stepped up," said coach
Todd McLellan, whose club improved to 7-0 when leading after two
periods. "It probably wasn't fair to throw him out there to the wolves,
but it shows his character. He's been practicing hard. Maybe he knew it
was coming and his teammates rallied around him."
Nabokov is likely to be back in net Wednesday. He is 22-12-1 with two
ties and a 2.10 goals-against average in 39 games versus Los Angeles.
The Sharks' Patrick Marleau has four goals and six assists during a
five-game point streak, while Heatley scored for the third time in four
games. Joe Thornton recorded an assist against the Flyers and tops the
league in that category with 14.
won five straight and eight of nine against Los Angeles before dropping
the last two meetings. The Kings have lost four in a row at HP Pavilion.