Skip to main content

Kings-Sharks Preview @NHLdotcom

GAME: Los Angeles Kings (41-35-5) at San Jose Sharks (44-26-11).

TIME: Monday, 10:30 p.m. EDT.

The San Jose Sharks look to continue their roll into the postseason when they host the Los Angeles Kings in the final game of Kings forward Luc Robitaille's outstanding career.

Robitaille, who announced his retirement last week, has 668 goals, the most in NHL history for a left wing. He's scored 557 of those for the Kings, a team record, and his 1,394 points are 19th on the NHL career list.

"I call it a celebration. I mean, that's how I feel. It's been the greatest time in my life. I've been living my dream," said the 40-year-old Robitaille, who scored at least 30 goals in a season 12 times.

His team, though, fell apart in the final month and will miss the playoffs for the third straight season despite winning 41 games. That's Los Angeles' best total since 1990-91, when they had 46, but the Kings have gone 6-12 in their last 18 games.

San Jose, by comparison, has been the league's hottest team, winning eight straight and earning the fifth seed in the Western Conference playoffs. They'll open the postseason on the road against Nashville.

It's been an incredible turnaround for a team that was in 10th place in the conference just two weeks ago. Since then, they've outscored opponents 33-16 to surge past five teams and into the playoffs for the seventh time in eight seasons.

"We're a pretty confident bunch right now," said Jonathan Cheechoo, who had a hat trick in San Jose's 6-3 win over Anaheim on Saturday. "We're in a good position that we earned. A lot of hard work is paying off, because it feels like we've been playing for our lives ever since the Olympics."

The Sharks will be looking to wrap up some individual honors Monday, as center Joe Thornton leads the NHL in scoring with 125 points while Cheechoo has a league-best 56 goals. Both players passed the Rangers' Jaromir Jagr on Saturday.

Jagr, who finishes his regular season Tuesday against Ottawa, has 54 goals and 122 points.

If the Sharks win or go to overtime against the Kings, they'll reach the 100-point mark for the second time in franchise history. San Jose had 104 points in 2003-04, when it advanced to the conference finals.

The Kings led the Pacific Division at one point, but things deteriorated so badly that the team fired coach Andy Murray on March 21.

In Robitaille's final home game Saturday, the Kings snapped a four-game losing streak by beating Calgary 2-1 in a shootout.

Robitaille didn't score in regulation and was stopped in the shootout by the Flames' Miikka Kiprusoff, but Pavol Demitra's shootout goal sent Robitaille off with a victory.

"It was a lot of fun," Robitaille said. "I do wish I would have scored on that shot, but it was a very special night. It was amazing how nervous I was at the beginning. I don't think I ever felt that way, but I knew down deep it was my last game here. I had a bunch of scoring chances and I enjoyed it. I'm real happy we won. What a way to go out."

STANDINGS: Kings - 87 points, 4th place, 24 PB, Pacific Division. Sharks - 99 points, 2nd place, 12 PB, Pacific Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Kings - Mark Parrish, 28 goals; Lubomir Visnovsky, 50 assists and 67 points; Sean Avery, 257 PIM. Sharks - Cheechoo, 56 goals; Thornton, 96 assists and 125 points; Mark Smith, 97 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS: Kings - Power play: 14.0 percent (75 for 536), 28th in NHL. Penalty killing: 78.5 percent (380 for 484), 28th. Sharks - Power play: 18.4 percent (91 for 495), 10th. Penalty killing: 81.0 percent (319 for 394), 22nd.

GOALTENDERS: Kings - Mathieu Garon (31-26-3, 4 SO, 3.22 GAA); Jason LaBarbera (10-9-2, 3.02). Sharks - Evgeni Nabokov (16-18-7, 1, 3.08); Vesa Toskala (23-7-4, 2, 2.56).

SEASON SERIES: Sharks, 6-1.

LAST MEETING: April 6; Sharks, 5-0. At Los Angeles, Cheechoo had two goals and an assist, and Toskala made 14 saves for his second shutout of the season.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Kings - 15-21-4 on the road; Sharks - 25-8-7 at home.

View More

The NHL uses cookies, web beacons, and other similar technologies. By using NHL websites or other online services, you consent to the practices described in our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service, including our Cookie Policy.