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In return home, Kings host Sharks

by Alex Kinkopf / Los Angeles Kings


HOME SWEET HOME: Tonight marks the the third of five meetings with the Sharks this season and the second and final of such at STAPLES Center. San Jose is playing the fifth of a five-game road trip tonight where they’ve gone 2-1-1 this far, they’re coming off of a 4-3 OT loss to the Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday. The Kings are home for a one-game stint, they’re coming off of a six-game road trip that saw them go 3-2-1, most recently a 5-0 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday night.

LINEUP: The Kings held a morning skate at the Toyota Sports Center in anticipation of tonight’s game. Dwight King practiced with the team for the second consecutive day but remains on Injured Reserve. Derek Forbort and Jordan Weal remained on the ice for extra work and are tonight’s presumed healthy scratches. Jonathan Quick left the ice first and will start in net.

FORWARDS

LUCIC – KOPITAR – GABORIK
TOFFOLI – CARTER – PEARSON
LEWIS – SHORE – BROWN
MERSCH – ANDREOFF – NOLAN
(WEAL)

DEFENSEMEN

MCNABB – DOUGHTY
MUZZIN – MARTINEZ
EHRHOFF – MCBAIN
(FORBORT)

GOALTENDERS

QUICK
(ENROTH)

PACIFIC PUSH: The Kings, coming off eight straight games against Eastern Conference opponents where they posted a 5-2-1 mark, will play their next five games within the Pacific Division. Coming into tonight, the Kings have an eight-point lead in the division ahead of the Sharks, but are only 10 points ahead of sixth-place Edmonton. Four of the Kings’ five losses to Western Conference opponents this season have come against clubs in the Pacific, where the Kings are 4-4-0 through eight intra-division meetings.

HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS: Following tonight’s return to STAPLES Center, the Kings will venture out on a a four-game road trip that begins December 26 in Arizona, followed by three games in Western Canada. The Kings, 11-5-0 on home ice, have earned 22 of their 42 points in Los Angeles this season. Can the Kings grab another two critical points in San Jose’s final visit to STAPLES Center before hitting the road again?

Morning skate. #LAKings - Sharks tonight at 7:30

A photo posted by LA Kings (@lakings) on

JONESIN’: The Kings will see their former backup goaltender for the third time this season when he starts in net for the Sharks tonight. Jones, in two starts against his former club this season, has stopped 44 of 49 shots faced, posting a 1-1-0 record. Jones, in 27 starts this season, comes into the evening with a 14-10-2 record, posting a .916 SV% and a 2.37 GAA. Jones is 2-0-1 in his last three starts, and is coming off of a 28-save performance against the Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday.

THE LAST TIME AROUND: The Kings are 1-1-0 in their two previous meetings against San Jose this season, losing 5-1 on October 7 at STAPLES Center and winning 4-1 on October 22 at the SAP Center. Drew Doughty recorded an assist in each game, Jeff Carter scored a season-high four points (2G, 2A) in the teams’ last meeting. Nick Shore was the only King to score in San Jose’s last visit to STAPLES Center, the first of his two goals scored so far this season.

WE’RE DOING IT LIVE: Tonight’s game will be broadcast on the NBC Sports Network, with coverage starting just before puck drop at 7:30 PM PST. As always, you can listen to Nick Nickson and Daryl Evans call the action live over the radio airwaves at AM 790 KABC.

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