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Preview: The Stadium Series! Game Day #58, Kings @ Sharks

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Time to take it outside.

Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

Los Angeles Kings @ San Jose Sharks (Levi's Stadium)

Time: 7:00 PM PST

TV: NBCSN

Enemy Reading: Fear the FinBattle of California

Lineups:

San Jose Sharks

Marleau–Thornton–Karlsson
Nieto–Couture–Pavelski
Hertl–Sheppard–Wingels
Scott–Desjardins–Kennedy

Vlasic–Burns
Dillon–Braun
Irwin–Hannan

Niemi
(Stalock)

Scratched: Tierney, Goodrow, Mueller; Injured: Brown, McGinn, Tarasov

Los Angeles Kings

Gaborik–Kopitar–Brown
King–Carter–Toffoli
Lewis–Stoll–Williams
Clifford–Shore–Nolan

Regehr–Doughty
Muzzin–Greene
McNabb–McBain

Quick
(Jones)

Scratched: Forbort, Andreoff; Injured: Pearson, Martinez; Suspended: Voynov

NOTES:

  • It's like a normal hockey game, but outside.
  • Really, you know a lot about the Sharks already, so we won't spend too much time on hockey talk in the preview. We CAN tell you that LA is riding a six-game winning streak, while the Sharks have gone 3-5-2 in the month of February. San Jose does come in off of a win over the Dallas Stars, which put them two points ahead of LA with three game in hand.
  • Fear the Fin's preview can be found here. They cite tonight's game as a "season-defining" game for San Jose, which seems about right considering the current standings...


    Pacific Division Playoff Contenders

    TEAM GP W L OTL PTS ROW PTS/GM 82-GAME PACE
    Anaheim 59 36 16 7 79 29 1.338 109.8 (1 Pac, 3 West)
    Vancouver 58 33 22 3 69 30 1.190 97.6 (2 Pac, 5 West)
    Calgary 59 32 23 4 68 29 1.153 94.5 (4 Pac, 10 West)
    San Jose 60 30 22 8 68 28 1.133 92.9 (5 Pac, 11 West)
    Los Angeles 57 27 18 12 66 26 1.158 94.9 (3 Pac, 8 West)
  • At this point, the commonly-cited figure of 95 points will not only be good enough to make the playoffs, it'll probably be good enough for third place in the division, which is massively important. (If there's a Pacific Division wild-card team, they will probably take the #8 seed and a spot in the Central side in the playoff bracket, which is ten times harder than the Pacific side will be.
  • And, yes, the Kings are technically third in the Pacific at this point. Calgary is the likeliest bet to end up in fifth, but Vancouver and San Jose are currently posting very similar (albeit average) possession numbers, so it's not like the top four should expect any team to drop off horribly. These games matter.
  • Oh, lineup changes, you ask? Well, Trevor Lewis' stint on the first line is over, as he swaps with Dustin Brown, who has looked better in February than he has all season. Other than that, really nothing to speak of from LA's side. For San Jose, John Scott slots in on the fourth line for Chris Tierney, which is good news for the Kings.
  • Why else should you watch today? Well, the in-game entertainment is John Fogerty (first intermission) and Melissa Etheridge (second intermission); I'll let you judge whether that's an improvement on the KISS-Five for Fighting twin bill last year. The stadium is newer/nicer than Dodger Stadium, and though it can't match the historical significance and scenery of Chavez Ravine, it's a good setting. And it's another chance to appreciate the greatest state.
  • PREDICTION: It does not snow.