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Preview: Kings at Sharks

Los Angeles using same lineup that won Saturday; Mirco Mueller to make season debut for San Jose

by Eric Gilmore / NHL.com Correspondent

KINGS (18-15-4) at SHARKS (23-13-1)

10 p.m. ET; NBCSN, NHL.TV

 

Kings team scope

The Los Angeles Kings are expected to use the same lineup they used in a 3-2 win against the San Jose Sharks at Staples Center on Saturday in the first game of the home-and-home set. The Kings led 2-0 after two periods in a hard-hitting game. "I think any time we come together it's a pretty intense game," second-line forward Tanner Pearson said after an optional morning skate. "That's just how the Kings and Sharks play against each other. You got to expect that tonight again. It's a division game, points are on the line. We're looking to get back-to back wins and help out our standings position." The Kings are fifth in the Pacific Division (40 points), seven behind the first-place Sharks. Pearson scored the first goal for the Kings on Saturday and had an assist. Linemate Jeff Carter scored the game-winner, his 20th goal of the season. "We were quick to get pucks out of our own zone and break their forecheck," Pearson said. "When you do that and limit their chances, that obviously helps." Goaltender Peter Budaj will make his fourth straight start and eighth in nine games. He's allowed two or fewer goals in each game with two shutouts.

 

Sharks team scope

The Sharks will be without injured defensemen Marc-Edouard Vlasic (face) and David Schlemko (upper body). Defenseman Mirco Mueller, the 18th pick of the 2013 NHL Draft, will make his season debut on the third pair with Dylan DeMelo. Vlasic, who was placed on injured reserve Monday, will miss his second straight game. He was hit in the face by a shot from Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere during the third period of a 2-0 win Friday. Schlemko was injured against the Kings on Saturday. Mueller has one goal, three assists and a minus-12 rating in 50 NHL games. His last game was April 9, 2016, the final regular-season game of 2015-16. He has eight assists in 25 games with the San Jose Barracuda of the American Hockey League. "He's earned the right to get up here and just do what all the other young guys that have stepped into the lineup have done, just play your game and help contribute," coach Peter DeBoer said. "We're confident he can do that." Goaltender Martin Jones will play for the ninth time against the Kings, his former team. He's 5-2-1 with a 2.24 goals-against average and .920 save percentage in his previous eight games against them. The Sharks won the first two games in the season series against the Kings before losing Saturday. "This is a response game for us," DeBoer said. "When we've had success against this team, it's when we've put our work boots on and been prepared and gone nose to nose with them in the trenches. There's nowhere to hide when you're playing the L.A. Kings. You got to be willing to do that and I think we will be tonight."

 

Kings projected lineup

Marian Gaborik -- Anze Kopitar -- Dustin Brown

Tanner Pearson -- Jeff Carter -- Devin Setoguchi

Kyle Clifford -- Nic Dowd -- Trevor Lewis

Dwight King -- Nick Shore -- Jordan Nolan

Derek Forbort -- Drew Doughty

Jake Muzzin -- Alec Martinez

Brayden McNabb -- Kevin Gravel

Peter Budaj

Jeff Zatkoff

Scratched: Matt Greene, Tom Gilbert, Andy Andreoff

Injured: Tyler Toffoli (lower body), Jonathan Quick (groin)

 

Sharks projected lineup

Patrick Marleau -- Joe Thornton -- Joe Pavelski

Kevin Labanc -- Logan Couture -- Mikkel Boedker

Timo Meier -- Chris Tierney -- Joonas Donskoi

Melker Karlsson -- Micheal Haley -- Joel Ward 

Paul Martin -- Brent Burns

Brenden Dillon -- Justin Braun

Mirco Mueller -- Dylan DeMelo

Martin Jones

Aaron Dell

Scratched: Matt Nieto, Tommy Wingels

Injured: Tomas Hertl (knee); Marc-Edouard Vlasic (face), David Schlemko (upper body)

 

Status update

Greene will be a healthy scratch for the third straight game, and Gilbert for the fifth straight game. McNabb will play his 200th NHL game. ... With Vlasic and Schlemko out, the Sharks will need to adjust their second power-play unit. DeMelo likely will fill in, and Martin, who saw power-play time last season, is an option.

 

Who's hot

Carter has six goals and one assist in his past six games. Pearson has two goals and three assists in his past five games. ... Pavelski has two goals and five assists in his past six games. Labanc has three goals and one assist in his past four games. Burns has six goals and eight assists in his past 13 games.

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