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Game Day Preview #23, San Jose Sharks @ Los Angeles Kings

At least Jonathan Quick can’t get hurt again...

NHL: Los Angeles Kings at San Jose Sharks John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports

Preview: San Jose Sharks (13-9-1) @ Los Angeles Kings (12-9-1)

How to Watch and What to Watch For

The last time these two teams met, everything was fine for about twenty minutes, until Jonathan Quick left the game with an injury. While some folks in hockey media predicted that the Kings’ season was over before it had even started, the team has overcome a slow, streaky start and injuries to key players.

The Sharks are coming off of an overtime win last night in Arizona, with Brent Burns scoring early to put the game away. Tired players and a travel day could slow this game down for the Sharks, and while they’ve got several players who sat last night as healthy scratches who could swap in, early reports indicate no lineup changes for the Sharks. That’s right, not even in net: Martin Jones is slated to take the ice against his old team. Jones is 4-1-1 against the Kings, which may not bode well, but at least a few of his old teammates seem to really enjoy scoring on him.

No line changes seem imminent for the Kings either, with the exception of Matt Greene potentially drawing back in. Look for Marian Gaborik to continue getting eased in with fourth line minutes. He logged just over eleven minutes against Chicago, consistent with his linemates, had no recorded shots on goal, and had no special teams work. That said, he looked as good as you could hope for in his season debut, and should only improve in his effectiveness as he gets his legs underneath him. The team should be well rested, having a long break since their last game against Chicago. Sometimes that means the team gets off to a sluggish start, but hopefully facing their upstate rival will give them some extra motivation.

The Sharks may sit first in the Pacific, but it’s not by much -- their record is virtually identical to the Kings’ and they’re only two points ahead, so a Kings win tonight would erase that gap.

Projected Line Combinations

Los Angeles Kings

King - Kopitar - Lewis
Pearson - Carter - Toffoli
Brown - Dowd - Setoguchi
Gaborik - Lewis - Nolan

Forbort - Doughty
Muzzin - Martinez
Gravel - Greene

Budaj
(Zatkoff)

San Jose Sharks

Marleau – Thornton – Pavelski
Donskoi – Couture – Ward
Boedker – Tierney – Labanc
Haley – Carpenter – Karlsson

Vlasic – Braun
Martin – Burns
Dillon – Schlemko

Jones
(Dell)

Opposing Preview: Fear the Fin