Scratched: Weal, Forbort Injured: Clifford, King, Lewis, Greene
San Jose Sharks
Injured: Couture, Ward Perpetually Suspended: Torres
Stats & Such
(Fancy stats courtesy War on Ice)
|ES Goal %||46.2
ES Shot %
|ES Corsi %||49.7
|ES Fenwick %||51.4||55.7
|ES Scoring Chance %||51.1||55.4
|ES High-Danger SC %||55.0
|Power Play % (Rank)||19.8 (12th)
|Penalty Kill % (Rank)||83.2 (7th)
|Starting Goalie (tonight)||Jones||Quick|
|ES Save %||.920
- What's up Kings fans? We haven't talked in a little while here since I don't work Saturdays, but I've been keeping busy with, uh, stuff. For other SBN blogs. Yeah. Don't ask, it's a whole big thing. I'm happy to be back home and talking about hockey again, at any rate. Whether y'all are happy to have me is a whole different question, of course.
- The Kings are coming home too, following a less-than-wonderful end to their six-game road trip. Still, the final record for that trip ended up being 3-2-1, which is I guess a mild success. Maybe you'd hope for a bit better given that it was against the Eastern Conference (and the losses came to Ottawa, Toronto, & Buffalo, none of whom are exactly titans of the sport at the moment), but 7 out of 12 points is fine. Now the Kings get to come home for all of one game! Yeah! They play the Sharks at Staples right before the Christmas break, then they hit the road again for another 4-game trip, this time through their own division (Arizona, Vancouver, Edmonton, and Calgary). After that trip is over, they finally hit a stretch where they play 5 of 6 at home. So basically get down to Staples Center tonight if you can, I guess. It's both your first and last chance for a while.
Meanwhile, our old friends from northern California are wrapping up a 5-game road trip of their own. How are they doing so far on it? Well, they're 2-1-1, so that's not bad. Tonight will basically determine whether or not the road trip is a success; at 3-1-1 you would call it one easily, at 2-2-1 you would say it was middling at best, and at 2-1-2 you.....I dunno, do a little dance? Stupid loser point. Anyway. The 2015-16 Sharks are basically the definition of "middling"; they're a single game above .500 (in NHL speak, which means they've actually lost 1 more game than they've won) and they're just barely failing to break even in 5v5 shot attempts (they do a little better in unblocked attempts & scoring chances, though). Since they play in the Pacific Division, they're a 2nd place team, which is pretty ridiculous. Here's a fun fact: they're 8 points worse than any other 2nd place team (the others are: Boston at 42 points, NY Islanders at 43, Chicago at 44). The Kings are, to be fair, the worst division leader as well, but only by a single point (Montreal is leading the Atlantic with 43 points). So yeah. Pacific = garbage, as we've been over a lot on this blog already.
- With that said, tonight's game is kind of important to the Pacific standings! Should the Kings lose in regulation, the Sharks go into the Christmas break suddenly looking at a 6-point deficit for the division lead, which certainly isn't insurmountable! On the other hand, if the Kings win in regulation they will have a double-digit division lead for the first time in who-even-knows-how-long (did that 05-06 team that lead the division for a while before collapsing and missing the playoffs entirely ever get up to double digits? I doubt it but I guess it's possible!). So yeah. Kind of a big deal! Either way the Kings will still have a game-in-hand on the Sharks, but I'll definitely have a merrier Christmas with a 10-point lead than 6, I dunno about you.
- So as far as the Kings lines go, the ones above were the ones used at the last practice. It looks like we're gonna try Trevor Lewis as a 3rd line wing (because man, that Lewis-Shore-Brown line just screams offense) and Michael Mersch will step down to the 4th line, centered by Andy Andreoff. Not in love with these moves just because Andreoff seemed to play better on the wing than the did at center (he'd still be best in the press box, mind you, as would Nolan), but Darryl seemed very unhappy with Mersch's game of late, and he's actually not exactly wrong there. Until the Kings can figure out a way to get something resembling offense out of this bottom six (stop fidgeting over there Jordan Weal), this remains the Achilles' heel of a very, very good hockey team.
- The Sharks' lines look a little weird, mostly due to injuries. Joel Ward was hurt very late in the game against Ottawa on Friday and missed the game in Chicago. He looks extremely unlikely to play tonight. On the other hand, Melker Karlsson also missed the game in Chicago but does seem likely to play tonight, so the Sharks probably won't be going with 11 forward again like they did on Sunday. Good for them. Logan Couture has missed every game of this road trip and will sit out again tonight as well due to a leg injury; he's played in just 5 of the Sharks' 33 games this season. And the Sharks only have 8 more games left until Raffi Torres can return! Oh and yes, that's Young Tomas Hertl down on the 4th line, for some reason. I assume it's Dustin Brown's fault.
- Let's get into what you're all really here for: which Mega Man villain are you, San Jose Sharks??? And the answer is: AQUA MAN!!! Obviously it was going to be a water-themed Robot Master, but once I narrowed it down it was a pretty easy decision. Let's look at some facts: Aqua Man looks dumb, just like the Sharks and their "shark biting down on a hockey stick" logo. Aqua Man has a funny name that can either remind you of the world's lamest superhero (who could talk to sharks!) or the world's worst 90s band responsible for some of the very dregs of what's allegedly called music. Either way, a fitting representation for the Sharks! Also, his special weapon is called the Water Balloon and since he's from the PS1 game Mega Man 8, he actually yells "WATER BALLOON!!!" at you repeatedly. Hilariously lame, just like the Sharks.
- PREDICTION: Kings win 5-1. Joy to the world.