NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Saturday, January 1st (All times eastern)
San Jose Sharks (20-13-5) at Los Angeles Kings (22-14-1), 9 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Los Angeles Kings didn't get their longest homestand of the season off to a great start. They will try to avoid a third straight loss tonight against the San Jose Sharks at Staples Center.
After allowing just three goals over a four-game winning streak from Dec. 21-27, the Kings have allowed a total of 13 tallies in back-to-back losses to the Coyotes and Flyers. Los Angeles began its residency on Thursday with a 7-4 loss to Philadelphia.
Ryan Smyth scored twice, while Justin Williams and Jack Johnson added goals in defeat. Jonathan Bernier gave up six goals on 22 shots before being pulled in the second period. He was replaced by Jonathan Quick, who stopped 5-of-6 shots the rest of the way.
"Certainly two of our ugliest of the year," said Kings defenseman Rob Scuderi. "We're not making excuses for ourselves, but it does happen. We have to scrap them under the rug and move on."
Los Angeles, which fell to 13-3-1 at home this season, has gotten inconsistent defense this year when facing San Jose. The Kings capped their recent win streak with a 4-0 victory in San Jose thanks to a 24-save shutout from Quick, but that victory came just over a month after Los Angeles dropped a 6-3 road decision.
The Sharks, who got goals from six different players in that November rout, have won nine of the last 14 in this series overall as well as two straight, four of six and nine of the last 12 played in Los Angeles.
The Kings and Sharks are currently tied for second in the Pacific Division with 45 points, three back of the first-place Stars.
San Jose used a balance attack to win on Thursday to snap a two-game slide, with five different skaters lighting the lamp in a 5-3 victory in Chicago. Joe Thornton had the game-winner, Ryane Clowe added an empty-net tally and Scott Nichol, Benn Ferriero and Dany Heatley all scored as well.
"We were pretty positive (heading into the third)," Thornton said. "It's a 3-3 game. We're in Chicago. We have 20 minutes to win the game. We were upbeat, and I think that's why we won this game."
Antti Niemi turned aside 26 shots to earn his third victory of the year against the team he backstopped to the Stanley Cup title last season.
Joe Pavelski and Torrey Mitchell both sat out last night's game with lower- body injuries and are day-to-day. Pavelski has missed two in a row, while Mitchell has sat out the last three games.
San Jose, which has won five of seven overall, ends a three-game road trip tonight.
01/01 10:59:29 ET