|SJS||0||0||0||(0 - 0)||3|
|LAK||0||0||0||(0 - 0)||1|
The Los Angeles Kings moved atop the Pacific Division with a win in their last game. To extend the lead, they'll need to complete their first home-and-home sweep of the San Jose Sharks in more than 6 1/2 years.
The Kings wrap up the two-game set when they meet the Sharks on Saturday night at Staples Center.
Los Angeles has dropped eight of its last 10 at home to San Jose and haven't beaten the Sharks in a home-and-home set since March 14-17, 2001. With a 5-2 win on Friday, Los Angeles evened the all-time record in the series between the California rivals at 40-40-4 with seven ties.
In his first start since Oct. 18, backup Jean-Sebastien Aubin made a career-high 45 saves - 20 in the first period - as the Kings won for just the third time in 15 games at San Jose.
"You know you're going to play (San Jose) eight times, so you'd better make sure you're ready," Aubin said. "I felt pretty good this morning, but it was a tough game."
Los Angeles' Dustin Brown scored twice, Michael Cammalleri added a goal and two assists and rookie Matt Moulson found the back of the net in his NHL debut.
"I was just trying to think about calming my nerves down out there," said Moulson, a former Cornell star who was recalled from the AHL to replace Kyle Calder, who will miss at least two weeks with a broken thumb. "It felt good to get on the ice and just try to concentrate on the game."
Patrick Marleau and Joe Thornton scored for San Jose, which got 25 saves from Evgeni Nabokov. The Sharks' third defeat in four games dropped them one point behind the Kings in the Pacific and only one point ahead of Dallas and defending Stanley Cup champion Anaheim.
"We can't give up, and you can't veer off the plan when they don't go in," San Jose coach Ron Wilson said. "Why change? The opportunities are there. You just keep on persevering. Right now our perseverance level is low. We've got to find a way to persevere, that's all."
Despite's Aubin's effort, Jason LaBarbera almost certainly will get the start in net for Los Angeles. Since Oct. 19, LaBarbera has been one of the league's best goaltenders, posting a 4-1-0 record with a shutout and a 1.41 goals-against average. The lone loss came in his last start Wednesday, when he made 32 saves in a 4-1 defeat at home to Columbus.
In three career games - two starts - against San Jose, LaBarbera is 1-2-0 with a 2.03 GAA. His best game against the Sharks came on April 17, 2006, when he stopped 31 shots in the Kings' 4-0 road victory.
Nabokov has started all of San Jose's games this season, so Wilson may give rookie Dmitri Patzold his first career start in this contest.
Patzold beat out Thomas Griess in training camp to replace the traded Vesa Toskala as Nabokov's backup. The rookie has relieved Nabokov twice so far this season, stopping 10 of 11 total shots in road games against Colorado and Detroit.
Both Patzold and Nabokov are natives of Kamenogorsk, Russia.
Los Angeles may be without enforcer Raitis Ivanans. According to broadcast reports, Ivanans appeared to suffer a broken cheekbone when he was hit in the face by a first-period shot from fellow defenseman Rob Blake.
|Apr 03 '08||SJS 2 at LAK 4||A. Kopitar|
|Apr 01 '08||LAK 2 at SJS 5||M. Michalek|
|Mar 18 '08||SJS 2 at LAK 1||P. Rissmiller|
|Dec 26 '07||SJS 3 at LAK 2||M. Michalek|
|Nov 28 '07||LAK 3 at SJS 2 - SO||D. Brown|
|Nov 24 '07||LAK 2 at SJS 1||A. Kopitar|
|Nov 03 '07||SJS 3 at LAK 1||J. Roenick|
|Nov 02 '07||LAK 5 at SJS 2||D. Brown|