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game preview

Sharks at Kings preview

San Jose can get within one point of division, conference lead; Los Angeles looking for second win in eight games

by Dan Greenspan / Correspondent

SHARKS (43-22-8) at KINGS (25-39-8)

10:30 p.m. ET; FS-W, NBCSCA, NHL.TV


The Game

The San Jose Sharks could move within one point of the lead in the Pacific Division and Western Conference with a win against the Los Angeles Kings at Staples Center on Thursday.

The Sharks trail the first-place Calgary Flames by three points with nine games remaining for each team. The Flames play the Ottawa Senators on Thursday.

San Jose has lost three straight games in regulation. The Sharks have not lost four in a row in regulation this season; they did go 0-3-1 from Nov. 24-Dec. 1, their longest losing streak of the season.

The Kings are 1-6-0 in their past seven games and have been eliminated from contention for the Stanley Cup Playoffs.


Players to watch

Sharks forward Joe Thornton has goals in consecutive games. He had scored once in his previous 11 games.

Kings defenseman Drew Doughty has eight assists in his past nine games.


They said it

"I think at this time of the year it doesn't matter where teams are in the standings when it comes to an L.A.-San Jose game. You're going to have a hard-nosed, man's game." -- Sharks defenseman Brenden Dillon

"I don't know how many times I've played that core group of San Jose. It's probably been 12 years now. There's a lot of history." -- Kings forward Dustin Brown


Sharks projected lineup

Timo Meier -- Logan Couture -- Gustav Nyquist

Evander Kane -- Tomas Hertl -- Joonas Donskoi

Marcus Sorensen -- Joe Thornton -- Kevin Labanc

Micheal Haley -- Barclay Goodrow -- Melker Karlsson

Joakim Ryan -- Brent Burns

Marc-Edouard Vlasic -- Tim Heed

Brenden Dillon -- Justin Braun

Martin Jones

Aaron Dell

Scratched: Jacob Middleton, Lukas Radil

Injured: Joe Pavelski (lower body), Erik Karlsson (groin), Radim Simek (knee)


Kings projected lineup

Alex Iafallo -- Anze Kopitar -- Dustin Brown

Carl Grundstrom -- Adrian Kempe -- Tyler Toffoli

Brendan Leipsic -- Jeff Carter -- Trevor Lewis

Kyle Clifford -- Austin Wagner

Derek Forbort -- Drew Doughty

Alec Martinez -- Matt Roy

Sean Walker -- Kurtis MacDermid

Paul LaDue

Jonathan Quick

Jack Campbell

Scratched: Dion Phaneuf, Ilya Kovalchuk, Jonny Brodzinski

Injured: None


Status report

Pavelski skated during an optional practice Thursday but did not take contact. … Toffoli will play after missing practice Wednesday because of illness. … The Kings will use 11 forwards and seven defensemen.


Stat pack

The Sharks have allowed at least four goals in each of their past four games and been outscored 19-12 in that span while going 1-3-0. … Ryan will play in his 100th NHL game. … Brown has scored a power-play goal in consecutive games, and has nine points (seven goals, two assists) in his past 12 games.

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