Time: 7:30 PM PST
Enemy Reading: Fear the Fin
San Jose Sharks:
Scratched: McGinn, DeMelo; Injured: Braun, Brown, Wingels, Torres, Mueller
Los Angeles Kings:
Scratched: Andreoff, McBain; Injured: Jones, Toffoli, Pearson; Suspended: Voynov
- Almost nine months after the Kings completed one of the unlikeliest playoff comebacks in NHL history at the Shark Tank, they return to face the San Jose Sharks in Sharks Territory (TM). The Kings have lost every time I've spent a preview or gamethread bringing up past triumphs, so I'm just gonna let you fill in the rest.
- Interestingly, this is the only time the two teams will face off at SAP Center during the regular season. Three of the team's five matchups are at Staples Center, while the other will be at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara one month from today. (Of course, a playoff matchup is well within the realm of possibility, given how tight the 2-5 spots in the Pacific are.)
- Epix cameras are now traveling with both teams in preparation for the four-part series on the upcoming Stadium Series matchup. Expect this game to be the main focus of the first episode, which airs on Tuesday, February 3.
- Now then, the Kings. Two days ago, they managed to lose despite accumulating 26 of the first 31 shots on goal. The effort has been there, the possession has been there, and the #grit has been there, but as it did on Monday, even the briefest of lapses (cough cough ALEC cough) can prove costly when the game is tight. After a 1-2-4 homestand, the team is feeling the frustration, even though the process has been good.
- As irritating as they are, the one-point games are keeping LA in the thick of things; San Jose has won five of their last ten (5-4-1, 11 points), but they've only gained two points on LA, who has won two of their last ten but lost five games beyond regulation (2-3-5, 9 points).
- A regulation win puts LA in playoff position heading into the break.
- John Scott is in the lineup for the first time since January 8, when he racked up 16 penalty minutes and got himself ejected against the St. Louis Blues. This makes me indescribably happy.
- That's not Erik or William on the Sharks' first line; that's rookie Melker Karlsson, who has seven goals and eleven points in 18 games with the big club. His scoring has allowed San Jose to balance their lines a bit more, which is why the third line features Tomas Hertl.
- John previewed this matchup with Jake of Fear the Fin on Monday's Jewelcast.
- PREDICTION: We're all very happy to have a week off.