GAME: Los Angeles Kings (16-11-4-3) at San Jose Sharks (12-9-10-3).
TIME: Friday, 10:30 p.m. EDT.
The San Jose Sharks aren't scoring a lot. They aren't losing much either.
The Sharks will look to extend their home unbeaten streak to 10 games when
they take on the first-place Los Angeles Kings in the opener of an important
Jonathan Cheechoo scored with 5:54 remaining as the Sharks improved to 5-0-4
during their run at home with a 2-1 win over Anaheim on Monday.
Marco Sturm, playing in his 500th NHL game, also scored for the Sharks, who
have two goals in each of their last nine games.
"Our main goal is not to score the most goals in the league but to make it
to the playoffs," Cheechoo said. "Scoring two goals every time out is not a
concern because we have been getting points most of the time."
Since a 1-5-4 start, the Sharks have gone 11-4-6 to move within two points
of Los Angeles in the Pacific Division.
"For a young team there's a lot of character in this room," forward Alyn
McCauley said. "We've shown a lot of resiliency on our club from the start. We
just kept plugging."
The San Jose offense has done enough to win lately because the Sharks'
goaltending has been outstanding.
Since returning from a groin injury on Dec. 11, Evgeni Nabokov is 3-1-1 with
a stellar 1.36 goals-against average and .954 save percentage.
The Kings have tied their last three games and are 4-2-3-2 in December. They
are coming in after blowing a three-goal lead in a 4-4 tie with Vancouver on
Playing short-handed basically all season and currently minus 11 regulars
due to injury, including Jason Allison and Adam Deadmarsh, the Kings have
somehow recorded at least one point in 11 of 13 games to stay atop the Pacific
"We need points every night we play and we scraped a point out of here, but
we left a point on the table being up 4-1," Kings coach Andy Murray said.
"With our lineup we just scrape through and I think we've lost two games in
regulation in our last 13 or 14 with 35 players."
The Kings continue to play without No. 1 goaltender Roman Cechmanek, who is
still day-to-day with a hip injury. Cristobal Huet has started the last five
games since replacing Cechmanek early in a 4-1 win over Nashville on Dec. 11.