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Sharks complete trip by visiting Kings

by John Kreiser /

SHARKS (10-1-1) at KINGS (8-5-0)


Last 10: San Jose 8-1-1; Los Angeles 7-3-0

Season series: This is the first of five meetings this season between the San Jose Sharks and Los Angeles Kings. The teams split four games in 2012-13, with each team winning twice at home.

Big story: The Sharks are back on the West Coast for the finale of a five-game road trip after going 3-1-0 against the Atlantic Division. They are less than a full second from being unbeaten in regulation; the only defeat on the trip was a 2-1 loss to the Boston Bruins in which the winning goal was scored with :00.8 remaining in regulation. The Sharks got to rest on Tuesday while the Kings were losing 3-1 to the Phoenix Coyotes in Glendale, Ariz.

Team Scope:

Sharks: San Jose's offense struggled for most of the trip, but the defense and goaltending picked up the slack. The Sharks scored three non-shootout goals in the first three games before breaking out on Sunday in a 5-2 victory against the Ottawa Senators.

"We've always kind of been known as a good defensive team," captain Joe Thornton said after practice Tuesday. "This year is no different. We're playing real tight and when guys need to block shots, they block shots.

"We feed off good defense, and that's how we usually get good offense."

San Jose's plus-28 is by far the best goals margin in the NHL. The Colorado Avalanche are next at plus-19.

Kings: The Kings had no trouble scoring against the Coyotes in L.A. last week, but beating them in the desert was another matter. L.A. fired 42 shots at goaltender Mike Smith but managed only a third-period power-play goal by Jarret Stoll.

Kings captain Dustin Brown hopes Stoll's first goal of the season is a sign of better things to come for the team's secondary scorers.

"I think, from a personal standpoint, it's nice to see Stolly get a goal," he said. "Sometimes it's just getting that one, whether it turns out to be a power-play goal late in a 3-0 game, but that might be enough to spark him and get some secondary scoring going for this team."

Coach Darryl Sutter gave Ben Scrivens the start against the Coyotes; Jonathan Quick is expected to be in goal against the Sharks.

Who's hot: Niemi had shutouts in two of his three starts last week and is coming off a 2-0 victory against the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday. Defenseman Marc-Andre Vlasic has two goals and nine points; he had seven points in 48 games last season. … Quick is 4-1-0 in his past five starts, including back-to-back victories against the Coyotes and Edmonton Oilers.

Injury report: Martin Havlat (pelvic surgery) is scheduled to make his season debut for the Sharks. Defenseman Dan Boyle (upper body) is skating and close to returning, but isn't scheduled to play. Matt Nieto (hand) missed Sunday's game and won't play. Brent Burns (mouth) has been out since Oct. 21. Adam Burish (back surgery) and Raffi Torres (knee) are out.  … The Kings report no injuries.

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