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Kings, without Lucic, look to keep Sharks at bay

by Alex Kinkopf / Los Angeles Kings



BACK AT IT: Tonight marks the fourth of five meetings with the Sharks this season, and the Kings’ second of three visits to San Jose’s SAP Center. The Sharks are playing the second of a three-game home stand, they’re coming off of a 4-3 win over the Minnesota Wild on Saturday afternoon. The Kings are finishing a two-game road trip; they’re coming off of a 3-2 loss to the Arizona Coyotes on Saturday night.

MISSING MILAN: The NHL handed Milan Lucic a one-game suspension for the punch he threw at Arizona’s Kevin Connauton in the third period of Saturday night’s game after the Coyotes’ forward struck the Kings’ forward with a slash to the left wrist. Tonight will be the first game Lucic has missed all season. In 47 games, Lucic has totaled 29 points (12G, 17A), 157 hits, 10 blocked shots, averaging 16:46 minutes of ice time per game.

LINEUP: The Kings held a workout and morning meetings at the team hotel in anticipation of tonight’s game. Since there was no pregame skate to lean on, the lines below are those projected on NHL.com. Don’t be surprised to see Jhonas Enroth get the call in net in what is the second of a back-to-back set; Enroth hasn’t started since January 4 in Colorado.

FORWARDS

PEARSON – KOPITAR – TOFFOLI
KING – CARTER – BROWN
GABORIK – LECAVALIER – LEWIS
ANDREOFF – SHORE – NOLAN

DEFENSEMEN

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

GOALTENDERS

QUICK
(ENROTH)

WHO’S IN GOAL?: The Kings, playing for the second time in as many nights, could call on Jhonas Enroth to start in goal. Enroth, 3-3-1 this season, posting a .930 SV% and a 2.18 GAA, was in net for the Kings’ only win against the Sharks this season on October 22, stopping 39 of 40 shots faced in the team’s 4-1 victory. Quick, however, is 4-0-0 with a 1.50 GAA and a .956 SV% this season when playing without rest.

THE LAST TIME AROUND: In the Kings’ previous meeting with the Sharks on December 22, they fell 5-3 to San Jose at STAPLES Center. The Kings held two separate two-goal leads, but San Jose responded with four unanswered goals to win. Tyler Toffoli scored two of the Kings’ three goals, Jonathan Quick made 33 saves on 36 shots faced. The Kings are 1-2-0 in their three meetings against the Sharks this season, losing both games played at STAPLES Center, winning 4-1 on October 22 at SAP Center.

RED-HOT SHARKS: San Jose comes into the night having won seven of their previous eight games (7-0-1), not having lost in regulation since January 7. During the Sharks’ eight-game point streak, they have scored three goals or more on seven occasions. The Sharks have bumped their way to within eight points of the Kings’ 61-point Pacific Division lead. A vital four points are at stake in tonight’s divisional matchup.

WE’RE DOING IT LIVE: Catch the ‘Kings Live’ pregame show at 6:30 PM PST on Fox Sports West, followed with Bob and Jim on the live play-by-play call from the SAP Center at 7:00. As always, you can listen to Nick Nickson and Daryl Evans call the action over the radio airwaves on AM 790 KABC.

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