Previewing the Los Angeles Kings' 2013-14 season:
Game 14 vs. San Jose
October 30, 2013
7:30pm PST (10:30pm EST)
With all due respect to their previous opponents, the Los Angeles Kings return home Wednesday night to face, by far, their toughest test of the young season: the San Jose Sharks.
When the regular-season schedule was first released, October 30 was slated as the much-anticipated playoff rematch between state rivals. Having gone the full seven games against each other in this past spring’s Western Semi-Final in addition to a ton of controversy, the aforementioned alone would have been enough to promote this matchup to the fullest.
But aside from the events of last postseason, the Sharks enter Staples Center on Wednesday sporting a league-best 10-1-1 record and are showing absolutely no signs of slowing down as they are winners of two-straight while having gone 8-1-1 in their last 10.
Individually, the Sharks are led by a familiar Kings nemesis in Patrick Marleau, who is currently tied for his team’s point lead with 14 points. Logan Couture also has a share of that led and, like Marleau, plays considerably well against Los Angeles.
While Joe Thornton and Joe Pavelski are both familiar with the Kings and vice-versa (both have 13 points apiece thus far), there is one player who has not yet played in the rivalry that is Los Angeles-San Jose.
19-year-old Tomas Hertl has started his rookie campaign ablaze as he is currently tied with the aforementioned Marleau with the team lead in goals with eight. The Kings and their fans will have their first opportunity to see Hertl and how he fares in his maiden battle against the silver-and-black.
The Sharks enter Staples Center with some impressive team numbers including 3.92 goals-per-game (1st overall), 21.8 power-play percentage (10th overall) and 88.2% penalty-kill (3rd overall). These certainly aren't aspiring numbers for a Kings team who has scored just twice on their last 90 shots. It may be easy to suggest that the Kings have their work cut out for them, especially having just played on Tuesday, but they have a few weapons of their own.
Jeff Carter leads the way with five goals, followed by Justin Williams and Dwight King with four each. While he only has one goal so far, Anze Kopitar’s 10 assists is good enough for holding top spot in team points while eight different Kings have registered 20 or more hits thus far, including bruising defenseman Matt Greene who leads the way in said department with 39.
There certainly isn’t any love lost between these two teams and nothing would end the first month of the season more ideally than a Kings defeat of their hated rivals from San Jose.
Only time will tell if they can do it.
Enjoy the game!