NHL Cali Clash, Kings at Sharks

Coming off their first regulation loss in three weeks, the San Jose Sharks return home looking to start another successful stretch in the final weeks of the regular season, beginning Tuesday against the Los Angeles Kings.

The Sharks (46-26-4) lost 6-4 at Carolina on Sunday, its first defeat in regulation since falling 3-1 at Anaheim on March 2. San Jose is 8-1-2 in its last 11 games and tied with Dallas for sixth in the Western Conference with 96 points. Both clubs are one point behind Minnesota for fifth place.

Oddsmakers have made San Jose -360 money line (NHL Odds) favorites for todays game, the over/under has been set at 5.5 total goals (View NHL Sports Books). Our public betting information

shows that 76% of bets for this game have been placed on San Jose -360 (View NHL Bet Percentages).

San Jose finished 2-1-1 on its final road trip of the season and will play five of its last six games at home, where it is 21-12-3 and has won four straight. After hosting Phoenix on Friday, the Sharks close out the season series with Los Angeles at HP Pavilion on Sunday.

The Sharks fell behind 3-0 on Saturday and allowed more than four goals for the first time since a 7-4 loss at Calgary on Feb. 24.

"I don't know how to explain their first three goals," Sharks defenseman Kyle McLaren said. "The puck seemed to land on their sticks at just the right moments. That's not the kind of start we've been getting off to."

San Jose's Joe Thornton scored his first goal in three contests to extend his season-high point streak to 10 games. With 104 points, Thornton is seven behind Pittsburgh's Sidney Crosby for the NHL scoring lead. He has five goals and 17 assists during the streak.

Jonathan Cheechoo added a goal for the Sharks, giving him six in his last three games.

Thornton and Cheechoo have combined for four goals and seven assists against Los Angeles, which has been outscored 25-17 by San Jose this season.

The Kings (26-36-14) lost 4-1 at Minnesota on Saturday. Despite being eliminated from the playoff race, Los Angeles is 4-2-1 in the last seven contests.

Forward Dustin Brown scored his career-high 15th goal of the season Saturday, and has a recorded a point in seven of his last eight games.

Trailing 2-0, the Kings held the Wild to three shots in the second period, but could not score themselves. Los Angeles averaged 3.2 goals in the nine games prior to Saturday.

"When you play a quality team like this you can't afford to make any mistakes,'' Los Angeles rookie center Patrick O'Sullivan said. "The second period was good for us. We really tried to keep the puck down low, cycle, and get some shots. That second period, I thought we'd score a couple of goals for sure."

Los Angeles veteran defenseman Rob Blake missed Saturday's loss due to a strained neck and is listed as day-to-day.

Rookie Anze Kopitar had two goals and leading scorer Michael Cammalleri scored one in the Kings' 4-2 win at San Jose on Dec. 14. Kopitar and Cammalleri scored in the teams' most recent meeting, a 5-2 Sharks victory Jan. 11 at Staples Center.

by: Gary Roberts - theSpread.com - Email Us

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