Kings-Sharks Preview: Finish Strong
Since we were last at the center of a controversial play (again!)...
IN: Michal Handzus
OUT: Torrey Mitchell
Kings lineup: The same.
With the Coyotes so far ahead of the Wild right now, this will likely be a battle between 7th and 8th place. So, what are their goals tonight?
I don't think anyone on the Kings is sitting around wondering which lower spot would be better. They wanted third. But even though home ice may be out of reach, they still need to finish strong. Some areas for improvement:
Discipline: As Robert pointed out, the Kings were winning the battle at even strength by a lopsided margin. The Sharks will want to disrupt that as much as possible. Run-and-gun games are risky. Sticking to their own game is key.
Penalty kill: If they stay out of the box, the PK won't take as much out of them. I'm confident about this one; it's been one of their strengths all year.
Goaltending: Darryl Sutter challenged a player who's usually our MVP to be better and come out with a win. If I had to guess, Sutter was none too pleased with the the penalty Quick took at the end of the second. Jonathan himself seemed a bit rattled afterwards. He's great goalie who's known for strong bounce-back efforts, though, so I expect a better game tonight.
If the Kings dominate even strength game again at even strength, it should get them a win. Let's hope they get back into the groove for the playoffs and be ready for whatever comes.