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Kings at Sharks preview

Kovalchuk could return for Los Angeles against San Jose after missing 10 games with ankle injury

by Eric Gilmore / NHL.com Correspondent

KINGS (12-20-3) at SHARKS (19-12-5)

4 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN1, SNE, SNW, SNP, NHL.TV

 

The Game

Forward Ilya Kovalchuk is expected to return to the lineup after missing 10 games with an ankle injury when the Los Angeles Kings play the San Jose Sharks at SAP Center on Saturday. 

Kovalchuk, who signed with the Kings as a free agent July 1, has gone 11 straight games without a point and has five goals and nine assists in 25 games this season.

The Kings are 2-4-2 in their past eight games but are coming off a 4-1 victory against the Winnipeg Jets at Staples Center on Tuesday. 

The Sharks are 5-1-0 in their past six games after their season-long five-game winning streak ended with a 5-3 loss to Winnipeg in San Jose on Thursday. 

Sharks center Joe Thornton (1,040) needs one assist to pass Marcel Dionne for 10th place on the NHL's all-time list. Gordie Howe ranks ninth with 1,049.

 

Players to watch

Kings forward Alex Iafallo has six points (two goals, four assists) in a NHL-long five-game point streak.

Video: LAK@PIT: Iafallo nets one-timer on power play

Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson has eight assists in a seven-game assist streak.

Video: VAN@SJS: E. Karlsson buries PPG through traffic

 

They said it

"He's hungry to get back in. He was good at the start of the year. He was producing, and we need him to produce. We need some offense to our game." -- Kings coach Willie Desjardins on Ilya Kovalchuk

 

"We wanted to see where we stacked up against one of the elite teams in the League. I thought our guys came out and played a good hockey game." -- Sharks coach Peter DeBoer after losing to Winnipeg

 

Kings projected lineup

Alex Iafallo -- Anze Kopitar -- Dustin Brown

Adrian Kempe -- Jeff Carter -- Tyler Toffoli

Brendan Leipsic -- Nate Thompson -- Ilya Kovalchuk

Austin Wagner -- Michael Amadio -- Matt Luff

Derek Forbort -- Drew Doughty

Jake Muzzin -- Sean Walker

Daniel Brickley -- Oscar Fantenberg

Jonathan Quick

Cal Petersen

Scratched: Paul LaDue, Nikita Scherbak

Injured: Alec Martinez (upper body), Dion Phaneuf (upper body), Carl Hagelin (knee), Trevor Lewis (foot), Jack Campbell (knee), Jonny Brodzinski (shoulder), Kyle Clifford (upper body)

 

Sharks projected lineup

Evander Kane -- Joe Pavelski -- Joonas Donskoi

Tomas Hertl -- Logan Couture -- Timo Meier

Marcus Sorensen -- Joe Thornton -- Kevin Labanc

Lukas Radil -- Barclay Goodrow -- Melker Karlsson

Radim Simek -- Brent Burns

Brenden Dillon -- Erik Karlsson

Marc-Edouard Vlasic -- Justin Braun

Martin Jones

Aaron Dell

Scratched: Tim Heed, Joakim Ryan

Injured: None

 

Status report 

Clifford practiced Friday but was not on one of the top four lines.

 

Stat pack

Kopitar has five points (one goal, four assists) in his past 10 games and is two goals shy of 300 for his NHL career. … Couture has six points (three goals, three assists) in his past four games and 19 points (seven goals, 12 assists) in his past 16. … Meier has 11 points (five goals, six assists) in his past nine games but no goals in his past three. … Hertl has eight points (three goals, five assists) in his past six games.

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