Kings vs. Sharks Preview
The teams meet Monday night in San Jose as the Kings try to further distance themselves from the Sharks in the division.
Los Angeles (12-3-0) has won six straight and eight of nine to rise to the top of the Western Conference. The Kings haven't won a division title since taking the Smythe in 1990-91, when Wayne Gretzky led them to a 102-point season.
Oddsmakers from online sports book BroburySports.com have made the Sharks –128 money line favorites for Monday's game against the Kings. Current NHL Public Betting Information shows that 86% of more than 249 bets for this game have been placed on the Kings +118.
"We've been playing really solid hockey," captain Dustin Brown said. "We're getting scoring from everyone and good goaltending. In this game, it really comes down to details and everyone making sure they're doing the right things."
Los Angeles beat the New York Islanders 5-1 on Saturday to complete a 5-0 homestand. The Kings lead the NHL in penalty killing at 92.2 percent and haven't allowed a power-play goal in five games. They've killed off 30 of 31 short-handed situations over the last eight contests.
Brown and Justin Williams scored their team-leading eighth goals and Jonathan Quick made 18 saves to improve to 10-1-0 with a 1.52 goals-against average. Quick is off to the best start for a Kings goaltender since Robb Stauber began 9-1 with a tie in 1992-93 season - the last time Los Angeles reached the Stanley Cup finals.
"It's just attitude, every night. We're going to play the same way no matter who we're playing," Williams said. "We've had some convincing wins and we've had some one-goal games that we've won. So we've shown that we can do it every way."
San Jose (8-5-2) topped the league with 113 points last season, but hasn't been able to keep up with the Kings. The Sharks sit fourth in the division.
They appear to be warming up, though, winning two straight and going 3-0-1 in their last four after being shut out in their two previous games. The line of Joe Pavelski, Ryan Clowe and Logan Couture lifted San Jose past Calgary 4-3 on Saturday, as each player recorded a goal and two assists.
"They have been our best line," coach Todd McLellan said. "They're around the net and when you're playing as hard and doing the right things as they've been, eventually you're going to get rewarded."
Pavelski scored for the first time in seven games for San Jose, which finishes up a five-game homestand against Los Angeles.
"There were some looks out there," Pavelski said. "It's been working out so far but we have to keep chipping and make it an everyday thing. We made it a little tough for ourselves, but it was a good win at the end."
Clowe's assist on Couture's third-period goal was the 100th of his career.
"I feel like the puck is falling for me in the offensive zone," Couture said. "Clowe is such a great playmaker and goal scorer that things are going well for me."
Antti Niemi stopped 28 shots to win for just the second time in six starts.
The teams split six meetings last season, but the Sharks are 5-1-1 in their last seven against the Kings at HP Pavilion.
Check out the latest odds for this game and all 2010 NHL Odds.