Previewing the Los Angeles Kings' 2011-12 season:
Game 73 vs. San Jose
March 20, 2012
7:30pm PST (10:30pm EST)
To say that tonight’s tilt is the most important game for the Los Angeles Kings to date this season would be a mild understatement. For the first time since December 23, the Kings will be facing their state rivals from the north in what will be a very pivotal matchup with so much at stake.
In three meetings this season, the Kings are 1-1-1 against the San Jose Sharks and if you thought tonight was a big game, just wait until the home-and-home series between these two clubs on the final weekend of the regular season. As tempting as it is to look that far ahead, let’s focus on the task at hand and burn the other bridge when we come to it.
The Kings and Sharks will enter a ruckus Staples Center tonight as one win by the home team can catapult them back into the playoffs over both Phoenix and Colorado, assuming, of course, both teams lose in their respective games tonight.
With their loss to Anaheim last night, the Sharks remained deadlocked with the Kings in points but, because of said loss, it’s Los Angeles who now owns the tiebreak between the two teams – although that doesn’t matter at this point as both clubs currently sit out of playoff position.
Tonight’s game, though, isn’t the only big Pacific matchup tonight. As I mentioned earlier, the Phoenix Coyotes are in action as they travel to Dallas to take the Stars. Dallas does hold the division lead but at 83 points, the Kings (as well as the Sharks and Coyotes) can easily jump into first in the Pacific and third in the West with a win tonight.
After playing admirably on Saturday night against Nashville, expect to see Jonathan Bernier riding the bench in favour of Jonathan Quick. This is the most important of the season for Quick and the Kings will need him to be on top of his game should they expect to win tonight and ultimately get into the playoffs.
It seems as if all the Kings are stepping it up at just the right time. Everyone from Anze Kopitar to Justin Williams to Dustin Penner are really earning their keep and their fans couldn’t be more grateful.
Will that effort be enough to hold off the Sharks tonight? We’ll just have to see.
Enjoy the game!