Los Angeles,Ca - The Los Angeles Kings have won three straight home games in impressive fashion. Their next opponent, however, has a considerably more notable streak going.
The NHL-leading San Jose Sharks try for their 14th straight game without a regulation loss when they visit Staples Center on Monday.
Oddsmakers from online sportsbook Sportsbook.com have made the Sharks –185 money line favorites for Friday’s game against the Rangers. Current NHL Public Betting Information shows that 71% of more than 203 bets for this game have been placed on the Sharks -185.
San Jose (24-3-2) has been nearly unbeatable during its torrid start, going 11-0-1 in its last 12 games and 18-1-2 in a 21-game stretch dating to Oct. 25.
Only one Western Conference team - defending Stanley Cup champion Detroit - is within 10 points of the Sharks.
"It's fun," center Marcel Goc said. "We like winning and we want to keep doing it. Detroit is right there and we don't want them catching us."
First-year coach Todd McLellan's club easily leads the league with 3.69 goals per game and ranks third with a 2.34 goals-against average. San Jose is averaging nearly 10 more shots on goal per game than its opponents, and already has five 10-goal scorers and seven players with 20 points or more.
Even when things haven't gone well for the Sharks, they've often found a way to win. They trailed 3-1 midway through the second period Saturday, but battled back for a 5-4 victory over visiting St. Louis.
Captain Patrick Marleau's second goal of the game broke a tie with about five minutes left, improving San Jose to 16-0-2 at home.
"We feel like we're never out of it," said Marleau, who's shifted from center to left wing and has 15 goals after totaling 19 in 78 games last season. "When we find ourselves down a couple of goals, we remind ourselves to stick with the game plan."
The Sharks will try to carry that momentum over to their three-game road trip, which takes them to Columbus on Wednesday before a showdown with the Red Wings on Thursday.
First, they'll focus on the Kings (13-12-4), who also come in with confidence following back-to-back victories. After beating St. Louis 6-2 on Thursday, Los Angeles put 43 shots on goal in a 3-1 win over Minnesota on Saturday to extend its home winning streak to three.
The Kings have outscored opponents 12-3 during that span.
Anze Kopitar and Michal Handzus scored on the power play Saturday and Dustin Brown added a pair of assists for the Kings, the only team allowing fewer shots per game (26.0) than San Jose. The Sharks are giving up 26.1.
"I don't think we expected to come out and get 40 shots against a team that has given up the fewest goals in the NHL, but it was important to come out and play our game," Kings coach Terry Murray said. "We knew coming off the St. Louis game that we had a little bit of momentum and we wanted to build on it."
Erik Ersberg made 16 of his 33 saves in the third period to improve to 7-1-2 with a 2.12 GAA at Staples Center this season. He's faced the Sharks once, making 32 saves in the Kings' 4-2 home win April 3.
With Jason LaBarbera in net for Los Angeles, San Jose started the Kings season by sweeping a home-and-home series Oct. 11-12. The Sharks earned a 1-0 road victory in the finale as Brian Boucher stopped 21 shots for San Jose.
The Sharks are 18-7-1 against the Kings since the lockout - 10-3-0 in Los Angeles.
They'll have to play without Jeremy Roenick for the next three weeks, though, after the veteran center injured his shoulder in a 2-0 win over Anaheim on Thursday.
Posted: 12/15/08 2:25 AM ET