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The San Jose Sharks have lost five of their last six games.
The Los Angeles Kings have won five of their last seven games.
The Kings are 2-0-0 against the Sharks this year.
Odds Taken from DraftKings Sportsbook.
San Jose Sharks
Los Angeles Kings
12-21-8 (3rd in Metropolitan Division)
24-14-6 (2nd in Pacific Division)
Erik Karlsson (54)
Kevin Fiala (46)
Timo Meier (23)
Adrian Kempe (17)
Erik Karlsson (41)
Kevin Fiala (31)
Jaycob Megna (5)
Timo Meier (4.66)
Shots (Per Game)
Trevor Moore (3.11)
The San Jose Sharks will travel to Los Angeles to face the Kings for the third time this season. The Kings won the previous two battles and are projected to win this game too.
The Sharks are far out of the Playoff picture with 32 points. However, San Jose still has half a season to turn it around and take a Wild Card spot. Conversely, the Kings are in second place in the Pacific Division but could move within striking distance of first place with a win today.
The Sharks do not have an exceptionally talented squad, and their offense ranks right in the middle. San Jose scores a little over three goals a game but have one of the NHL’s worst defenses. They allow well over 3.5 goals a game and do not receive much help from their subpar goaltenders.
The Sharks have a few offensive talents in Erik Karlsson and Timo Meier. Karlsson is the passer in this group and has an absurd 41 assists, while Meier is the shooter and has an impressive 23 goals.
James Reimer and Kaapa Kahkonen make up the Sharks' goaltending duo. I will not go into their individual stats, but I will say this. Neither of them is performing well, and they each allow far too many goals.
The Kings are not dominant, but they are putting together a solid season. Their defense could use some work, but their offense is consistent and averages over three goals a game. In addition, the Kings’ addition of goaltender Phoenix Copley has been instrumental. Copley has not been on the Kings’ active roster for long but is clearly the best netminder on their roster.
The Kings ofense is led by Kevin Fiala, Anze Kopitar, and Viktor Arvidsson. None of these players are making a top-ten list, but they are all dangerous with the puck and can pass and score.
Phoenix Copley may be the new #1 netminder in Los Angeles. Copley has been receiving the majority of the Kings’ starts over the last month and performing really well. The 30-year-old has 11 wins in 13 games and allows less than 2.6 goals per game.
The Kings should have no problem winning this home game. They have a superior squad and a lot more momentum. Los Angeles has won five of their last seven games, while the Sharks have lost five of their last six.
The Sharks are the underdogs but can win if they have strong goaltending and get second-chance shots.
Much of the Sharks’ struggles have come from their poor goaltending. Both of their goaltenders have save percentages below .900 and allow close to 3.5 goals per game. Whoever does get the start must perform at a much higher level than usual. The Sharks are facing a Kings squad that averages over 32 shots a game, so strong goaltending will be paramount.
The Sharks have a decent offense but only scored two goals in their previous game against the Boston Bruins. San Jose needs to improve their offense going into this game and can do so by swarming the net and getting second-chance shots. Second-chance shots are higher percentage shots than most others, so it would benefit the Sharks to get as many as possible.
The Kings may be the favorites but will only win if they draw penalties and slow down Erik Karlsson.
The Kings have a solid power play unit and convert almost ¼ of their opportunities. 26% of their goals have come on the power play, and much of Los Angeles’ offense comes with a man advantage. It should not come as a surprise when I say that the Kings need to draw penalties and get this unit on the ice.
Erik Karlsson is a huge part of the Sharks’ offense. He only has 13 goals, but his 41 assists are tied for the second-most in the NHL. Since Karlsson is so key to San Jose’s success, he must be stopped. The Kings’ defensemen must prioritize him and force the puck out of his hands.
I spoke above about Erik Karlsson, but Timo Meier is also an offensive threat on this Sharks team. Meier leads San Jose with 23 goals and has three in his previous five games. He needs to look for the puck and take his shot in this matchup.
Kevin Fiala is arguably the best player on the Kings. He is an all-around talent, and his numbers speak for themselves. Fiala is also coming off a two-goal, two-assists game against the Edmonton Oilers. He must take the momentum from that game and bring it into this game. If he does, San Jose is in for a long night.
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What - San Jose Sharks vs Los Angeles Kings
Where - Crypto.com Arena, Los Angeles, CA
When - Wednesday, January 11, 10:00 PM EST
How to Watch - TNT
Max Heering graduated from the University of Kansas Sport Management program in May 2020. Max follows and writes about the NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL, MLS, college football, and college basketball. In his free time, you can catch Max draining threes on the basketball court. Email: [email protected]More info on Max Heering
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