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Kings-Sharks Preview

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To rebound from their first shutout of this season, the San Jose Sharks will need to get past the last team to hold them scoreless in 2005-06.

The Sharks try to do just that Wednesday when they meet the Los Angeles Kings for the third time this season at HP Pavilion.

San Jose (15-7-0) was outshot 44-23 Tuesday and couldn't slow the Anaheim Ducks, losing 5-0 for only its second defeat in the last eight games. The Sharks failed to capitalize on a 5-on-3 advantage in the second period as Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau had point-blank shots stopped, and Steve Bernier fanned on a pass through the crease.

"That was our big chance to get back in the game," said Marleau, who leads San Jose in goals (12) and points (24), including three goals and an assist in two meetings with Los Angeles this season. "That's the way the night kind of went. But there's a lot more things we could have done better.

"We've got to be more tenacious, jumping on loose pucks and getting in on the forecheck. We didn't do those things tonight, and that's why we lost."

It was the Sharks' first shutout since falling 4-0 to the Kings in last season's finale. That defeat also ended a nine-game home winning streak against the Kings dating back to April 13, 2002, in which they outscored Los Angeles 34-14.

The Sharks return home Wednesday, where they are 7-2-0 and outscoring opponents 28-16. San Jose is trying to match its season-high four-game winning streak at HP Pavilion.

Vesa Toskala (10-2, 2.06 goals-against average) and Evgeni Nabokov (5-5, 2.53 GAA) have alternated starts for the Sharks this season, and if the team continues that trend, Toskala will again face the Kings.

The teams have split the prior two games, but Toskala is 4-1 with a 2.23 GAA in six career games against Los Angeles. The Sharks also have won 11 of their last 14 against the Kings.

Los Angeles (7-11-4) is trying to win back-to-back games for the second time this season after a 5-3 victory Saturday over the Phoenix Coyotes.

Alexander Frolov continued his torrid stretch for the Kings with two goals and an assist. He has scored two goals in three consecutive games and also has two assists in that span, a streak that started with a 4-2 win Nov. 13 over the Sharks.

Frolov is the first Kings' player with three straight multigoal games since Luc Robitaille did it in March 1993. He leads Los Angeles with 12 goals and 21 points, including three goals and an assist in two matchups with San Jose.

"Fro is about as hot as anybody in the league right now," said Kings center Craig Conroy, who scored the go-ahead goal and added an assist Saturday. "He's got that little bit of swagger and confidence in his game - especially right now. He's feeling it.

"He feels like every time the puck is on his stick, it's got a chance to go in. And when you play with a guy like that, you want to give him the puck as many times as possible and let him dictate what's going to happen out there."

San Jose's Jonathan Cheechoo, the NHL's leading goal-scorer last season, has missed the last two games with an injured left leg. He has two goals and an assist against the Kings this season, but his status is uncertain for Wednesday's game.

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