NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Monday, January 27th (All times Eastern)
Los Angeles Kings (29-18-6) at San Jose Sharks (34-12-6), 10 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Los Angeles Kings may have bigger things to worry about on Monday night than the possibility of posting their longest losing streak in over six years.
The Kings will play San Jose for the first time since a controversial hit by Dustin Brown sidelined Sharks' rookie Tomas Hertl for in all likeliness the rest of the regular season.
Los Angeles has won two of three over San Jose this season, including a 4-1 win at home when the clubs last met on Dec. 19. That game was highlighted by Brown's knee-on-knee hit to Hertl in the first period, with the Kings captain being assessed a five-minute major for kneeing and a game misconduct.
Hertl had 15 goals and 10 assists in 35 games before the injury and it appears he won't play again this season following knee surgery.
It is something that the Sharks have appeared to have not forgotten.
"We weren't happy, and I certainly wasn't, with the way things were handled and the play itself," forward Tommy Wingels told the San Jose Mercury News.
An angry Sharks team is the last thing the Kings need as they have lost seven in a row in San Jose and five straight overall. The last four setbacks of their current losing streak have come in regulation and Los Angeles is in danger of posting its longest skid since dropping eight in a row from Dec. 12-26, 2007.
Los Angeles has lost 12 of its last 16 overall and is coming off a 3-0 setback to the Anaheim Ducks outdoors at Dodger Stadium on Saturday. Jonas Hiller posted a 36-save shutout for the Ducks to sweep the home-and-home set, while Jonathan Quick made 18 saves for the Kings and yielded two goals before the game was 10 minutes old.
"Yeah, it was tough chasing the lead. Trouble scoring goals," said Kings head coach Darryl Sutter.
Quick settled down after that and was perfect the rest of the way. The offense, meanwhile, outshot Anaheim 20-7 in the first period and 36-21 in the game, but was shut out for the fourth time this season.
Anze Kopitar was denied on a penalty shot in the first period and the Kings went 0-for-4 on the power play. They now lead the Vancouver Canucks by just one point for third place in the Pacific Division.
The Sharks are second in the division with 74 points, one back of the St. Louis Blues for third place in the Western Conference. They have won six in a row for the third time this season and aim to win seven straight for the first time since March 25-April 5 of last season.
San Jose signed Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau to three-year contract extensions on Friday and the moves paid off the following night in a 3-2 win over the Minnesota Wild.
Thornton and Marleau scored 49 seconds apart in the second period to erase a 2-0 deficit and Thornton scored the game-winner on a slap shot with 1:30 left in overtime.
Antti Niemi stopped 20 shots in the win.
"Maybe it took us a little bit to regroup, but we finally did and we came together," said San Jose defenseman Matt Irwin.
Niemi is 11-6-3 with a 2.52 goals against average in his career versus the Kings, while Quick has gone 10-4-5 with a 2.57 GAA against the Sharks.
01/27 19:54:38 ET