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Kings-Sharks: Game 14 Preview

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Since we last met the San Jose Sharks...

IN: Martin Havlat, Michal "Baron von FrizzyFuzz" Handzus, Andrew Murray, Brent Hookworm-Burns, Colin White, Jim Vandermeer

OUT: Dany Heatley, Devin "Yay I got re-signed" Setoguchi, Ian White, Scott Nichol, Ben Eager, Jamal Mayers, Kyle Wellwood, Kent Huskins

Probable lines:

Couture-Thornton-Pavelski
Clowe-Marleau-Havlat
McGinn-Handzus-Mitchell
Murray-Desjardins-Winchester

D. Murray-Boyle
Vlasic-Burns
White-Braun

Niemi

The Sharks roll into town in the same situation as the Kings: still working out the kinks. One big difference? They still score goals.

Lack of production from the defensemen was a talking point for Terry Murray after the OT loss to the Pens. According to him, it's a big factor in why the team as a whole is struggling to score 5v5. Let's examine that.

The year Doughty had 59 points, the Kings had 145 goals at even strength, good for 19th in the league. As is the case with many top defenseman, there was a pretty even split between his power play and even strength tallies (9 vs 7). Greater production from the blueliners would help, but it's not a cure-all.

Are the defensemen helping to generate pressure? Here are the early returns on raw Corsi, a proxy for zone time/possession:

Doughty 19.20
Martinez 12.08
Mitchell 11.12
Voynov 4.32
Greene 3.65
Scuderi -12.35
Johnson -12.83

Just like last year, Doughty and Martinez are on the ice for a lot of the Kings' shot attempts. This bodes well for their production picking up. Johnson is showing an admirable commitment to defense, but the second pair is still spending a lot of time in their own zone.

Bottom line: the problems the Kings are having at even strength go beyond the defensemen, and beyond this year. Look for a more detailed breakdown when we finish collecting the scoring chance data.