Game 45: San Jose Sharks (26-16-2) vs. Los Angeles Kings (22-18-4)
Gametime: 7:30pm PST / 10:30pm EST
Radio: 98.5 KFOX
|San Jose Sharks||Los Angeles Kings||Advantage|
|3rd, Pacific||Div. Standing||5th, Pacific||San Jose|
|5-4-1||Last 10 Games||5-5-0||San Jose|
|16.5% (22nd)||Power Play||16.9% (21st)||Los Angeles|
|82.6% (13th)||Penalty Kill||83.2% (9th)||Los Angeles|
|115 (21st)||Goals For||110 (22nd)||San Jose|
|102 (4th)||Goals Against||107 (5th)||San Jose|
|+13||Goal Differential||+3||San Jose|
The San Jose Sharks and Los Angeles Kings meet for their fifth and final game of the regular season tonight at STAPLES Center. And hey! I’ll be at the game tonight! Tweet me if you’ll be there too (@ABoyAndHisTeam) and we can meet up and get yelled at together during intermission for disrespecting the legacy of Kings legend Kobe Bryant.
Despite both hockey clubs going 2-2 against each other this year, it remains difficult to compare San Jose and Los Angeles. Each meeting has featured one (or both) of the teams dealing with injuries to their top players. Marian Gaborik, Jonathan Quick, David Schlemko, Tomas Hertl, Marc-Edouard Vlasic, David DeMelo, Tyler Toffoli, and Drew Doughty’s pride have all suffered significant injuries this season.
Drew Doughty thankful for breakaway posts, took one to the nuts trying to chase down an empty net goal pic.twitter.com/EqVaiHXc4v
— CJ Fogler (@cjzero) December 1, 2016
The closest we’ve come to seeing both teams play at 100% was the season opener (which San Jose won 2-1), but with both San Jose and LA‘s top players coming straight back from deep runs at the 2016 World Cup of Hockey, it’s still hard to place one team above the other. We may have to wait until the playoffs to see it.
The injuries continue to stack up for San Jose, with both Joonas Donskoi (IR) and Logan Couture (illness) out tonight. With 26 points in 33 career games against Los Angeles, Couture’s absence will definitely be felt on the ice tonight. From the team’s morning skate in Los Angeles, it appears Ryan Carpenter will slot in for Couture while Melker Karlsson will take a spot on the top line. However, with Pete DeBoer’s constant line-juggling to deal with San Jose’s injuries, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Timo Meier find his way back to the top line after a few shifts. If the Sharks are looking to correct their power play and jolt up some secondary scoring, a game against their hated rivals might be just what they need.
Speaking of scoring woes, Anze Kopitar returns tonight after not playing in LA’s 2-1 loss against Tampa Bay Monday due to an illness. The Slovenian centerman is currently on pace for his lowest scoring numbers since his rookie year, with only 24 points (4 G, 20 A) in 38 games so far this season. A healthy dose of the returning Marc-Edouard Vlasic should help keep him off the scoresheet tonight.
Prediction: Sharks 3, Kings 1. The Sharks finally see Joe Pavelski score a power play goal. I’ll get yelled at for not having a Cup even though it took LA 25 years to win their first Western Conference championship too.
Even though I hate the Kings, I always love going to STAPLES Center. Gotta respect the champs.
San Jose Sharks Projected Lines
Melker Karlsson – Joe Thornton – Joe Pavelski
Kevin Labanc – Patrick Marleau – Mikkel Boedker
Timo Meier – Chris Tierney – Joel Ward
Micheal Haley – Ryan Carpenter – Tommy Wingels
Paul Martin – Brent Burns
Marc-Edouard Vlasic – Justin Braun
Brenden Dillon – David Schlemko
Martin Jones (starter)
Los Angeles Kings Projected Lines
Marian Gaborik – Anze Kopitar – Trevor Lewis
Tanner Pearson – Jeff Carter – Dustin Brown
Dwight King – Nic Dowd – Devin Setoguchi
Kyle Clifford – Nick Shore – Jordan Nolan
Derek Forbort – Drew Doughty
Jake Muzzin – Alec Martinez
Kevin Gravel – Matt Greene