It was a rivalry that really didn’t need any extra fuel, but it got some just the same.
The last time the Los Angeles Kings and San Jose Sharks met, in Los Angeles on Dec. 19, Sharks rookie winger Tomas Hertl was sidelined after a knee-on-knee hit from Kings’ captain Dustin Brown.
Hertl underwent surgery to repair the damage and could miss up to nine months after injuring both the PCL and MCL in his right knee.
It likely cost Hertl—who was leading all NHL rookies in scoring at the time—the Calder Trophy. It definitely cost Hertl a chance to represent the Czech Republic at next month’s Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia.
It’s been more than a month, but it’s unlikely the Sharks have forgotten what happened at the Staples Center when they meet Monday night at the SAP Center (7:30 p.m. faceoff).
On the ice, San Jose (34-12-6) and Los Angeles (29-18-6) are second and third, respectively, in the Pacific Division, looking up at Anaheim, which has a nine-point lead over the Sharks. But these teams are going in vastly opposite directions—San Jose has won six straight while the Kings have lost five games in a row.
L.A. is 2-0-1 against San Jose this year, while the Sharks are 1-1-1, winning the first meeting at the SAP Center on Nov. 27 in a shootout. They lost in overtime at Los Angeles on Oct. 30 and took a 4-1 regulation loss on Dec. 19.
It’s the fourth of five meetings between the teams this year—the final game will be April 3 in San Jose. The Sharks have a 41-18-5 edge against the Kings on home ice all-time and have won the last seven meetings (one in overtime and three via the shootout). The last time San Jose lost to the Kings at home was a 4-0 blanking on Dec. 27, 2010.
The rest of The Docket on a light Monday looks like this:
NBA: Sacramento Kings (15-28) at Utah Jazz (15-29), 6 p.m.
The Kings could slide into last place in the Western Conference with a loss and they come in off three straight defeats, while Utah beat Washington its last time out.
It’s the third and final meeting of the season between Sacramento and the Jazz, with the teams splitting the first two games by winning on each other’s home court. The Kings won at Salt Lake City in overtime 112-102 on Dec. 7 and the Jazz returned the favor at Sleep Train Arena on Dec. 11 in a 122-101 drubbing, although in fairness, the Kings were extremely short-handed because the players acquired from Toronto (Quincy Acy, Rudy Gay, Aaron Gray) were not yet in uniform.
The Kings are just 17-41 all-time at Utah since moving to Sacramento in 1985.
WOMEN’S BASKETBALL: USC Trojans (14-6) at Stanford Cardinal (18-1), 6 p.m.
The Cardinal are the last unbeaten team in Pac-12 Conference play at 7-0, while the Trojans are 7-1 after a win at Cal on Friday night.
Stanford, which has won 17 in a row since their lone loss of the year at Connecticut on Nov. 11, is 51-19 all-time against USC, which includes a sweep last season. At Maples Pavilion, the Cardinal are 26-6, including a 75-66 win on Jan. 20, 2013. Stanford has won its last 12 against the Trojans at home, with the last loss coming on March 1, 2001.
Washington at Warriors, 7:30 p.m.