* Given the way the last game between these clubs went, and how the Kings have fared since, we may as well call this the battle of the red faces. Redemption is at stake for both sides.
* San Jose has a reason to feel a bit better about themselves, though. While they dropped a game against the Wild, losing 5-3, they beat Chicago on the road by the same score -- battling back after squandering a 2 goal lead in 23 seconds.
* Still at stake: 2nd in the Pacific. They're tied in points again. However, the rest of the pack (predictably) hasn't been losing ground; Colorado and St. Louis have tied them, too. Teams within two points of their total sit out of a playoff spot.
* This is the Sharks' 4th game in 6 nights. This is the Kings' 5th game in 7. Mental and physical fatigue? Yup.
* Disgruntled fans, spare me your thoughts about how you go to work for five days straight and never mess up. NHL-caliber hockey requires fighter pilot levels of quick decision-making in a chaotic, constantly shifting environment -- and this on top of all of the considerable physical demands it poses. I'm not saying they're above criticism, but it's probably not like your job.
That said, they must rebound.
*SJ's power play is still converting at an impressive clip: 4 for their last 9. They have the 4th best power play in the NHL (23.5%). Can our penalty killing units get back to their excellent selves in time to thwart them?
*Marleau and Thornton have kept on putting up points since we last saw them. This is good news for SJ, as centers Joe Pavelski
and Torrey Mitchell
are out with lower body injuries. For the Kings, Parse, Mitchell, and Ponikarovsky are still sidelined.
Knock knock. Who's there? The Kings and the Sharks. ...Which Sharks and Kings? We'll see.