SHARKS (1-1-0) at KINGS (0-1-0)
First of six meetings between teams that finished at opposite ends of the Pacific Division standings last season. San Jose went 5-1 against Los Angeles, including a couple of shootout victories. Patrick Marleau
's three goals led the Sharks, while Alexander Frolov also scored three times for the Kings.
Expect Los Angeles to come out with something to prove after a dreadful home opener against Phoenix. Meanwhile, San Jose should be confident against an opponent it has had great success against the past several seasons.
This is the final stop on a season-opening, three-game road trip for San Jose, which lost 5-2 to an emotional Colorado team fresh off Joe Sakic's jersey retirement ceremony but rebounded for a 4-1 win over Anaheim, some payback for last spring's first-round playoff elimination.
Dany Heatley, acquired in a blockbuster deal with Ottawa last month, is seeking his first goal with the Sharks. In his first two games, he's recorded a pair of assists, five shots on goal and a minus-2 rating.
Los Angeles finished 38 points behind the Presidents' Trophy winners in the Pacific last season. The Kings expect to cut into that gap, but they got off to a terrible start Saturday by losing 6-3 at home to Phoenix, which tied Los Angeles with 79 points in 2008-09 (the Coyotes finished ahead of the Kings by virtue of two more wins).
"In practices and preseason games, I thought our team at least had good habits," said defenseman Rob Scuderi
, who signed as a free agent after winning the Stanley Cup last season with Pittsburgh. "Maybe we didn’t win all the preseason games, but I felt we made good habits that we built in practice. Tonight we went down a goal, then the second one was kind of tough to take, but either way you have to be able to play your system and stay together as a team.
"We’re not going to go anywhere if we fall apart every time a little adversity hits us."
He's no longer captain, but Patrick Marleau
has led the way for the Sharks with three goals in their first two games. One of the positive things to come out of the Kings' loss to the Coyotes was the power play, as Anze Kopitar
, Alexander Frolov and Drew Doughty
all connected with the man advantage.
Sharks forward Joe Pavelski
is expected to miss in the neighborhood of two weeks due to a lower-body injury. The Kings have a healthy roster, although veteran defenseman Sean O'Donnell won't play as he serves the final game of a suspension that carried over from the preseason.
Los Angeles is 27-19-4-2 all-time at home against San Jose, but just 4-11-1-2 since the start of the 2003-04 season.
The Kings get an immediate opportunity to make amends to their fans for the season-opening stinker, but the level of competition only gets tougher with the Sharks in town.
-- Brian Hunter, NHL.com