Previewing the Los Angeles Kings' 2013-14 season:
Game 78 @ San Jose
April 3, 2014
7:30pm PST (10:30pm EST)
After a big win on home ice on Wednesday vs. Phoenix, the Los Angeles Kings are right back to work on Thursday as they travel to San Jose to take on the Sharks. In what is most likely a first-round playoff preview, the Kings and Sharks look to show fans on both sides a prelude of what’s to come two weeks from now.
After losing to them in the opening round of the 2011 playoffs, the Kings got their revenge against San Jose last year, eliminating the Sharks in a grueling seven-game series to advance to the Western Final. The Sharks hope to get this one back, but first, they hope to defeat Los Angeles in their final regular-season meeting this year. Now, the Kings visit Silicon Valley as they embark on a four-game road trip, their last of the year.
Thursday marks the fifth meeting between Los Angeles and San Jose with the Kings holding a 3-0-1 edge. Their only loss came in the shootout at the SAP Center back on November 27. The Sharks are a daunting 27-6-5 on home ice this season but one of those regulation loses did come at the hands of the silver-and-black, who won 1-0 on January 27 – the most recent meeting between the two Pacific rivals.
San Jose is coming off a Tuesday night win vs. Edmonton and are 5-3-2 in their last 10. They have had plenty of help from Joe Pavelski who is riding a four-game point streak. During said streak, San Jose’s No. 8 has scored four goals while adding four assists. He is also in the midst of celebrating a career-high in goals with 38. Defenseman Dan Boyle has also been on fire lately, scoring goals in his last three outings and points in his last five.
But the San Jose Sharks shouldn’t take the Kings lightly, who have plenty of hot hands themselves.
Do not be surprised to see Jonathan Quick back in between the pipes on Thursday as No. 32 is 6-1-0 in his last seven, allowing just 12 goals over that stretch. But given that they already clinched a playoff spot, the prospect of starting Martin Jones is also a viable option.
In addition, after celebrating a breakout month in March, Alec Martinez entered April like a lion by recording a pair of assists on Wednesday. The same can be said for Anze Kopitar who scored a goal and added a helper.
If this is going to be a first-round matchup, then Thursday night will have fans of both teams eagerly tuning in with everyone on the edge of their collective seats.
It should be an exciting affair.
Enjoy the game!