In the final game of the regular season, the San Jose Sharks (25-15-7) take on the Los Angeles Kings (26-16-5) at the Staples Center in what could be a playoff preview.
This evening’s game still has a lot resting on it with home-ice advantage somewhat on the line, although with the St. Louis Blues currently holding the fourth position they have their fate in their own hands. The same cannot be said for San Jose, who needs a Blues loss and a win over the Kings to take the fourth spot.
The problem is, with the Chicago Blackhawks (who face the Blues) resting pretty much all of their top players, a win for the Blues might be imminent. Either way, for tonight at least, all of San Jose will be a Blackhawks fan for at least tonight.
The big guy that will be missing from the Los Angeles is captain Dustin Brown. He was suspened for the final two games of the season after an elbow a few games back against the Minnesota Wild. Not having him will be a big blow to their lineup not only offensively but physically as well.
Leading the team in points for the Los Angeles Kings is centerman Anze Kopitar who has 41 points racking up 10 goals and 31 assists. Another big threat is winger Jeff Carter has 26 goals on the season, good for fourth best in the league.
For the Sharks, captain Joe Thornton is ninth in the league with 33 total assists while also leading the team with 40 total points. Slowly creeping up on him in points, especially in the second half of the season, has been the Sharks’ second-best centerman Logan Couture. He now has 20 goals and 16 assists, good for second best on the team at 36 points.
What To Watch For
San Jose’s penalty kill has not been on-par late this season so they will be looking to fix that. They have allowed a power play goal in six of their last seven games in which they have been on the penalty kill, something that could hurt them big time in the playoffs. Hopefully they can get that cleaned up tonight during the game.