SHARKS (21-7-6) at KINGS (23-8-4)
7:30PM PT, TV: FOX SPORTS WEST; RADIO: AM 1150
ROUND THREE: This is the third of five meetings with the Sharks this season, and the second and final one at STAPLES Center. Both clubs have won games on home-ice in splitting the first two games – both contests extending past regulation time. The Kings won 4-3 in OT on October 30 in Los Angeles, and fell to the Sharks 3-2 in SO on November 27 in San Jose.
SHARKS TANKED: When talking recent times, the Kings absolutely own the San Jose Sharks at STAPLES Center. In the Kings eight previous regular season games against the Sharks in Los Angeles, dating back to January 26, 2011, the Kings are 7-0-1 against Northern California’s teal. If you include playoff games, the Kings are 11-0-1 against the Sharks in their last 12 games played in Downtown Los Angeles.
KOPI-TEE: We haven’t seen Anze Kopitar tee-off without any regards for second thought quite like he did in the Kings’ previous meeting with the Sharks at STAPLES Center on October 30. Kopitar won the game in OT with absolute howitzer from atop the zone during man-advantage situation. Kopitar has five points (4G, 1A) in the Kings last six games. Can he tee-off on San Jose again tonight?
LATE NIGHT TEE-TIME
TESTING JONES: Expect to see rookie goaltender Martin Jones between the pipes tonight. After his 24-save shutout performance Tuesday night against the Edmonton Oilers, Jones is posting an out-of-control 6-0-0 record, with a .972 SV% and a 0.82 GAA. San Jose has the NHL’s third-best offense this season, posting an average of 3.21 goals per game. Martin Jones will be the third goaltender the Kings throw at the Sharks in three games this season. Can #31 handle the workload that comes with facing San Jose’s offensive corps?
D-ZONE STONE: San Jose might have the third-best offense in the NHL, but the Kings have the stingiest, toughest defense in the league – only allowing 1.89 goals per game through 35 games this season. The Kings are a whopping 0.11 goals allowed better than the NHL’s second best team – the Boston Bruins, who stand at an even 2.00 GAA, second overall in the NHL. Can Martin Jones and the Kings defense stymie San Jose’s offense tonight?
WHAT’S TRENDING: The Sharks are 2-4-1 in their last seven contests, the Kings are 6-1-0 in their past seven. Top on San Jose’s miserable record in Los Angeles in recent times, where they’ve pulled off a single OT win to go along with 11 losses in their past 12 games at STAPLES Center, and the Kings find themselves in a perfect opportunity to land a major blow against a threatening inter-divisional opponent tonight.
WE’RE DOING IT LIVE: Catch KINGS LIVE at 7:00PM PT on FOX SPORTS WEST, followed with Bob and Jim on the live play-by-play call from STAPLES Center at 7:30 PM PT.