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Kings-Sharks Preview @NHLdotcom
Kings-Sharks Preview

GAME: Los Angeles Kings (27-14-2) at San Jose Sharks (17-16-5).

TIME: Saturday, 10:30 p.m. EST.

Luc Robitaille tries to tie Marcel Dionne's franchise record for goals, and lead the Los Angeles Kings to their fourth straight victory when they visit the last-place San Jose Sharks.

Robitaille ended a 14-game drought with two goals in the Kings' 4-0 victory over the Phoenix Coyotes on Thursday to move within one score of Dionne's team record of 550 goals.

His 660 career goals are already the most ever by any NHL left wing.

"I've been getting more and more ice time and more chances," said Robitaille, in his third stint with Los Angeles. "Therefore, sooner or later, a puck is going to go in."

He scored 392 goals while with the Kings from 1986-94 before moving on to play with Pittsburgh and the New York Rangers. He came back to Los Angeles to score 128 goals from 1997-01 and then went on to play two seasons in Detroit.

Robitaille has 29 goals in 109 games since his return to the Kings in 2003.

"The record is going to be great for Luc to get," Los Angeles coach Andy Murray said. "But the most important thing for Luc is that he wants these goals he's getting to help us win games."

The Kings have won three straight and nine of their last 11 games, but have lost six in a row at San Jose since a 3-2 victory on March 18, 2002.

Saturday's game will be the Kings' fifth of six straight against Pacific Division teams. Los Angeles is 3-0-1 during the stretch so far, and is 10-3-1 against division foes this season.

San Jose has won two in a row following a four-game losing streak.

Jonathan Cheechoo scored three goals for the second time in three weeks, and Joe Thornton had a goal and three assists in the Sharks' 6-3 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday night.

Cheechoo has seven goals and two assists in the past four games.

"Cheeh has the hot hand right now," Thornton said. "I haven't seen anybody like that, to be honest with you."

Cheechoo has three goals and an assist in two games against Los Angeles this season.

"He's being set up incredibly by Joe and Ek (Nils Ekman)," Sharks coach Ron Wilson said. "But I can't say I've ever seen a guy playing with as much confidence as him."

STANDINGS: Kings - 56 points, 1st place, Pacific Division. Sharks - 39 points, 5th place, 17 PB, Pacific Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Kings - Pavol Demitra, 20 goals and 50 points; Demitra and Lubomir Visnovsky, 30 assists; Sean Avery, 136 PIM. Sharks - Cheechoo, 23 goals; Thornton, 43 assists and 58 points; Mark Smith, 53 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS: Kings - Power play: 15.9 percent (47 for 296), 22nd in NHL. Penalty killing: 81 percent (217 for 268), 19th. Sharks - Power play: 17 percent (39 for 230), 17th. Penalty killing: 80.2 percent (150 for 187), 25th.

GOALTENDERS: Kings - Mathieu Garon (19-8-0, 1 SO, 2.58 GAA); Jason LaBarbera (8-6-2, 3.10). Sharks - Evgeni Nabokov (8-11-5, 3.06); Vesa Toskala (4-4-0, 3.82).


LAST MEETING: Dec. 26; Kings, 4-3. At Los Angeles, Michael Cammalleri, Joe Corvo and Craig Conroy each scored power-play goals to lead the Kings.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Kings - 12-8-2 on the road; Sharks - 11-4-3 at home.

Associated Press
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