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Sharks continue homestand against Kings

by John Kreiser

KINGS (16-6-3) at SHARKS (15-3-5)


Last 10: Los Angeles 7-0-3; San Jose 5-2-3

Season series: It's the second of five meetings between the Los Angeles Kings and San Jose Sharks. The Kings won 4-3 in overtime at Staples Center on Oct. 30, but L.A. has lost its past six regular-season visits to SAP Center.

Big story: The Sharks and Kings enter the game tied for second in the Pacific Division with 35 points, though San Jose has played two fewer games. Both have games in hand on the first-place Anaheim Ducks.

Team Scope:

Kings: L.A. brings a four-game road winning streak to the Bay area after a tying goal late in regulation and an overtime goal by Anze Kopitar enabled the Kings to steal a 3-2 victory against the Vancouver Canucks on Monday. The Kings won despite giving the Canucks eight power plays thanks to the continued brilliance of backup goaltender Ben Scrivens, who is 5-0-2 in seven starts since taking over after starter Jonathan Quick was injured two weeks ago.

"We're going through a stretch where our big guy's out, and we've got to try and keep our head above it while we do, and that's what Ben's done," coach Darryl Sutter said.

Sharks: San Jose comes in after a three-day break following a 2-1 victory against the New Jersey Devils on Saturday. The Sharks scored both of their goals against the Devils in the first period; they've outscored their opponents 32-12 in the opening 20 minutes this season.

Though his team is 2-for-2 during a five-game homestand and 5-1-1 in its past seven games overall, coach Todd McLellan is concerned enough about his special teams to have devoted extensive time to both during the break. The Sharks are 13th on the power play and 16th on the penalty kill, but both units have been slumping.

"Players just have to be reminded that these are the things we do, this is how we do them," McLellan said Tuesday, according to the San Jose Mercury News. "If the other team can beat us at it, then we'll adjust. But right now, that's not the case. We're beating ourselves in some of those situations."

Who's hot: Scrivens has allowed nine goals in his seven starts since Quick was injured. Kopitar has four points in L.A.'s past four games, including the OT winner against the Canucks. … Sharks captain Joe Thornton has five assists in the past five games. Tyler Kennedy has points in three consecutive games and scored the game-winner against New Jersey.

Injury report: Quick (groin strain) won't be back until late next month. The Kings are also without forwards Matt Frattin and Trevor Lewis (lower body) as well as defenseman Matt Greene (upper body). … The only two players the Sharks are missing are a pair of long-term absentees, forwards Adam Burish (back surgery) and Raffi Torres (knee).

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