Sharks Try To Take Over Fourth Seed In Conference Against Kings: Game Preview


March 16, 2013; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Kings center Tyler Toffoli (73) forces San Jose Sharks center Tommy Wingels (57) to turn the puck over during the third period at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Kings (24-14-4) head north to San Jose to face the Sharks (22-13-7) at HP Pavillion this evening.

The Sharks are coming off of a dominating 4-0 victory last night with Antti Niemi getting the shutout.  This is the third matchup of the season between the two clubs with each having won their home game.

A win tonight would put the Sharks back in fourth place in the conference standings, although it would have to be in regulation.  An overtime or shootout win would still give L.A. the one point and thus both teams would be tied.  The tiebreaker, which is the ROW (regulation + overtime wins), would easily go to the Kings at that point.

Leading the way for the Kings in points is centerman Anze Kopitar.  He has 37 points this season including his team-leading 27 assists to go along with 10 goals scored this season.

Jeff Carter leads the team in goals with 24 and is tied for third in the league in that category.  The funny thing is he only has five assists all season.  None are more of a pure goal scorer than he I supposed.  Carter is tied for second on the team with his 29 points.

Logan Couture meanwhile has slowly caught up to teammate Patrick Marleau for the team lead in goals which both guys now tied at 17.  Couture is now second on the team in points with 30.   Joe Thornton remains in first with 37 points, 30 of which are off of assists.

Niemi has also been stellar for the Sharks all season and he has the numbers to back it up.  If he can stay healthy and continue to remain at top form for the playoffs the Sharks have the potential to make a deep run in the playoffs.

He is tied for the most wins in the league this season (with 21) and sits in eighth place in both goals against average (2.13) and save percentage (.925).  While eighth in either of those categories is not very Vezina-worthy, we must also factor in that he has faced the second-most amount of shots against this season.  Also, his eight regulation losses are the lowest out of any top-level goaltender in the league.  He’ll need to be at the top of his game against the a team who has been top-ten all season in goals per game.