Tonight on the ice, a pair of Pacific Division foes will square off as the San Jose Sharks grapple with the Los Angeles Kings at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. The Sharks will be playing on no rest as they have a home game against Vancouver on Saturday night, while the Kings are off a 5-2 home loss to the Lightning. Goalie Probables: The Sharks will send out Matt Jones and the Kings will counter with Jonathan Quick.
Sharks Fall To Hot Lightning
The San Jose Sharks are off to a decent 8-6 start to the year, but in what has been a very strong Pacific Division, that is good enough for 6th place. San Jose has a game on Saturday night and prior to that game they fell at home to Tampa Bay by a score of 5-1 and it was just their second time in their last 10 games that they allowed more than two goals in a game. This is not a team with a great offense, so when they do allow a bunch of goals they are in trouble. Scoring their lone goal against the Lightning was Joonas Donskoi, which was his 5th of the year and that goal came just 25 seconds into the game to give the Sharks a 1-0 lead, but after that, it was all Tampa Bay. The Sharks have gone 3-2 on the road so far. Taking the loss against the Lightning was Martin Jones, who allowed four goals on 21 shot attempts to fall to 7-4 with a 2.24 GAA and a .922 save percentage on the year. He will be getting the start on Saturday night, so getting the nod here will be Aaron Dell and he has gone 1-2 with a 2.46 GAA and a .905 save percentage on the year, including 1-1 with a 3.03 GAA and a .891 save percentage on the road. In his career, he has gone 5-7 with a 2.45 GAA on the road and 3-1 with a 1.28 GAA against the Pacific Division. This will be his first start against the Kings.
San Jose has been poor on offense so far as they come in ranked 26th in the league in scoring at 2.57 gpg, while also ranking 10th in shots taken (32.7 spg) and 19th in power play conversions, converting on 17.5% of their chances. At the defensive end of the ice, they have been very strong as they come in ranked 4th in goals allowed, giving up just 2.50 gpg, while also ranking 1st in shots allowed (28.0 spg) and 2nd in penalty kill, allowing teams to convert on 11.5% of their chances.
Kings Routed By Lightning At Home
The Los Angeles Kings led their division, but they have gone just 2-3 after falling to the hot Tampa Bay Lightning by a score of 5-2 at home. They have now lost their last two home games, after starting the year at 5-1 at the Honda Center. The Kings have the 3rd most points in the league with 24 and they have a three-point lead over the Golden Knights in the Pacific Division, which has been the best division in the league so far. The Kings were pretty much out of the early as they fell behind 4-0 just 11:39 into the game and were never able to recover. Scoring for the Kings in the loss to the Lightning was Tyler Toffoli, which was his 8th of the year and Oscar Fantenberg, which was his first career goal. Taking the loss against the Lightning was Jonathan Quick, who allowed five goals on 43 shot attempts to fall to 9-4 with a 2.29 GAA and a .932 save percentage on the year, including 4-2 with a 2.50 GAA and a .932 save percentage at home. In his career, he has gone 156-105 with a 2.21 GAA in his home games and 28-29 with a 2.45 GAA during the month of November, plus he has gone 91-75 with a 2.34 GAA against the Pacific Division, while against the Sharks in his career he has gone 15-14 with a 2.55 GAA.
The Kings have been a decent offensive team so far as they come in ranked 9th in the league in scoring at 3.31 gpg, while also ranking 7th in shots taken (33.9 spg) and 17th in power play conversions, converting on 17.9% of their chances. At the defensive end of the ice, they have been very good in the early going as they come in ranked 3rd in goals allowed, giving up just 2.44 gpg, while also ranking 21st in shots allowed (33.1) and 1st in penalty kill, allowing teams to convert on 8.5% of their chances.
San Jose is:
- 2-6 in their last eight vs. a team with a winning record
- 0-4 in their last four games playing on 0 days rest
Los Angeles is:
- 20-8 in their last 28 games playing on two days rest
- 11-3 in their last 14 home games vs. a team with a winning road record
The Pacific Division has been very strong in the early and these two teams figure to be in the mix for the division title all season long. The Kings have lost their last two games at home and the Sharks have won seven of their last eight games here in Los Angeles. Still, The Sharks are playing with no rest against a rested team and that should give the Kings a very nice advantage. The Kings have been a bit inconsistent of late, but I see them getting back on track with a huge home win in this one.