Previewing the Los Angeles Kings' 2011-12 season:
Game 14 @ San Jose
November 7, 2011
7:30pm PST (10:30pm EST)
After thirteen games, the Los Angeles begin their schedule against state rivals tonight and it starts with the team who eliminated them from last year’s playoffs: the San Jose Sharks.
Both teams enter tonight’s contest tied with 15 points and both coming off losses while picking up regulation points on Saturday night. While the Kings lost in the shootout to Pittsburgh, San Jose fell to the Nashville Predators in overtime by a score of 4-3.
Tonight marks the first of six meetings between the Kings and Sharks this season as San Jose went 3-1-2 against their southern California rivals, winning twice in the shootout. The Kings also won one in the shootout last season.
There are some new faces the Kings are going to have to contend with. Although Dany Heatley and Devin Setogucchi have since moved on to Minnesota, the Sharks added forward Martin Havlat and defenseman Brent Burns, not to mention former King, Michal Handzus, who signed with the Sharks as a free agent this past summer.
Tonight, the Kings need to find a way to contain the “King Killer” Joe Pavelski who currently leads his team with 15 points in his first 12 games. Pavelski has had great success against Los Angeles and if the Kings hope to change that, they need to find a way to keep him out of harm’s way and, ultimately, off the scoresheet.
Joe Thornton’s not too far behind with 11 points while Ryane Clowe and Logan Couture are each tied with 10 points heading into tonight’s game. With that said, the Kings certainly do have their work cut out for them. However, if their game on Saturday against Pittsburgh was any indication, look for a sound effort tonight. Let’s just hope the Kings can maintain that effort for an entire 60 minutes.
Last week, head coach Terry Murray eluded to using both goaltenders for their back-to-back games tonight and tomorrow night. Murray has decided to start Jonathan Quick tonight and, thus, go with Jonathan Bernier tomorrow night.
During yesterday’s practice, Dustin Penner was moved up to the second line with Mike Richards and Dustin Brown. It won’t be determined if Murray will indeed go with this line tonight but it’s likely that he will experiment with the move and see how things work out.
It’s the first meeting of the season between the San Jose Sharks and Los Angeles Kings and the home team is looking to start things off on a high-note.
Enjoy the game!
Photo: Courtesy of Gregory Shamus, Getty Images