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7 Things To Watch For Tonight On Fox Sports West

by Alex Kinkopf / Los Angeles Kings

KINGS (16-6-3) at SHARKS (15-3-5)


TOP DOG: With the Anaheim Ducks’ loss last night, the top spot in the Pacific Division is officially up for grabs – and the winner of tonight’s bout between the Kings and Sharks will slide into first place. Both the Kings and Sharks come into tonight with 35 points apiece. This is the second of five meetings with the Sharks this season. The Kings won the first game 4-3 in OT on October 30th at STAPLES Center.

HISTORY IN THE MIX: The Kings, on their current 10-game point streak (7-0-3), are now just one game away from tying the franchise’s all-time mark of recording a point in 11 straight games. The Kings pulled off 11-game streaks during the 1973-1974 season (9-0-2) and the 2010-2011 season (8-0-3).

BUT IT WON’T COME EASY: The Kings haven’t had too much luck at San Jose’s SAP Center in recent years. The Kings haven’t won a game in San Jose since April 23rd, 2011, which was Game 5 of the 2011 Western Conference Quarterfinals. The Kings haven’t won a regular season game in their last six visits to San Jose. Their last regular season win in San Jose came on December 27, 2010 – when Anze Kopitar made his renown “hail mary” pass to Dustin Brown.

SITTING ON 99: And it ain’t Gretzky. Two Kings players are a shot, and for one of them, even a pass away from hitting a major NHL milestone tonight. Justin Williams enters tonight’s contest with 199 career NHL goals. Anze Kopitar comes in with 499 career NHL points. If there were a perfect play tonight, it would be Kopitar assisting a Williams goal. That would give Kopitar 500 NHL points, and Williams 200 NHL goals. Who would keep the puck?

HERTL WHO?: That’s how you’ve got to look at him. And it’s how the Kings played him on October 30th. Who are you? I don’t agree with a 20 year-old Rookie skating off the ice last during warm-ups, which he did in LA 27 days ago. Hertl was a no-name in the first meeting between these two clubs, can the Kings keep Tomas Hertl quiet again?

CALLING FOR CLIFFORD: Kyle Clifford, after two weeks of recovery from a concussion he suffered November 9th, recorded his second goal of the season Monday night – and it was a beauty. Clifford nailed five hits in his return to the lineup Saturday night against Colorado, and has looked strong and stable in his two games back into the lineup.

PURPLE ON THE ROAD: Since the Kings have an opportunity to make franchise history (in multiple ways) tonight, you can’t help but look at it from the uniform perspective as well. Kyle Clifford scored the game-winning goal in Game 5 of the 2011 Western Conference Quarterfinals for the Kings in San Jose. Not only was this the last Kings victory in Northern California, it was the last time the franchise wore purple on the road.

WE’RE DOING IT LIVE: Catch KINGS LIVE at 7:00PM on FOX SPORTS WEST followed with Bob and Jim on scene in San Jose for the live play-by-play call at 7:30PM.

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