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A road trip might be exactly what the San Jose Sharks need to end their current losing streak.
One of the NHL's best visiting teams, the Sharks look to avoid a season-high fourth straight loss when they open a four-game road trip Wednesday night against the Los Angeles Kings, who have lost seven in a row.
San Jose (18-12-5) lost 5-2 at home to Anaheim on Saturday to finish 0-2-1 on its most recent homestand. Though the Sharks are tied with the Ducks for second in the Pacific Division, they are just 6-9-3 at home. It's been San Jose's road play, though, that's kept it within striking distance of first-place Dallas.
The Sharks' 12-3-2 road mark is tied with Ottawa for the best in the NHL. They'll try to win their seventh in a row away from home when they visit Los Angeles, where they have won three straight in the series, including 3-1 on Nov. 3.
That is the Sharks' only win in four games versus Los Angeles (12-23-2), which has won all three meetings in San Jose this season.
San Jose, which hasn't lost four in a row since Feb. 24-March 2, has scored eight goals in its last five games and no more than two in any of those contests.
"I think guys are nervous," San Jose defenseman Craig Rivet said. "They're grabbing the sticks and trying to push themselves to do too much, and you can see that in a number of the guys. Guys are putting too much pressure on themselves."
"We talked about it. How much are we going to talk about it?" Sharks coach Ron Wilson said. "The same people weren't ready to compete when it mattered most."
Thornton, who has 40 points, has two goals and three assists in four games versus the Kings this season.
Evgeni Nabokov made 19 saves against the Ducks in his third straight loss. Nabokov, who has started every game for the Sharks, has a 2.19 goals-against average at home and 1.90 GAA on the road this season.
Though he's lost three of his last four starts against the Kings, Nabokov is 17-10-1 with two ties and a 2.00 GAA versus Los Angeles in his career.
Los Angeles beat the Sharks 3-2 in a shootout on Nov. 28 in the teams' last meeting, but are 2-10-1 since then. The Kings lost 4-3 at Nashville on Saturday and haven't lost eight straight since dropping its final 11 games in 2003-04.
Lubomir Visnovsky and Patrick O'Sullivan had goals Saturday for the Kings, who have been outscored 28-13 during their current winless stretch.
Los Angeles took 37 shots Saturday, but went 0-for-6 on the power play. The Kings are 4-for-36 with the man advantage in their last seven games.
"We did what we could, and it wasn't good enough," said O'Sullivan, who had a goal in the team's most recent meeting with San Jose.
Despite their recent struggles, the Kings look to win three in a row over the Sharks for the first time since 2001-02.