SHARKS (20-13-5) at KINGS (22-14-1)
TV - CSN-California (HD), FS-West (HD)
Last 10 - San Jose 6-3-1; Los Angeles 6-4-0
Season series - This is the third meeting of the season between these in-state division rivals. They played just five days ago, when the Kings came to HP Pavilion and outshot the Sharks 37-24 en route to a 4-0 victory. The Sharks won their only other meeting this season, 6-3 on Nov. 15
Big story - While the competitive balance between California's teams has never been greater, the Sharks and Kings are also entrenched in the League's closest division battle. With 45 points, both teams are just three behind division leader Dallas. The Western Conference race isn't any less cluttered, as the Kings and Sharks are only six points up on the 13th-place Wild.
Sharks - Heading into the finale of a three-game road trip, the Sharks have struggled to keep a lead away from home. In the 14 road games the Sharks have played since Nov. 17, the team has entered the third period with a lead nine times. In those nine games, they've blown the lead five times, ultimately losing four games. That doesn't include Thursday night's game in Chicago, in which the Sharks blew a 3-1 lead in the final 23 seconds of the second period before rebounding in the third for a 5-3 win.
"I think we all left the bench extremely frustrated (after the second period)," San Jose coach Todd McLellan said after the game. "We needed to man up and try to find a way to overcome it."
Kings -- Being the Kings' starting goalie has been a pretty thankless job in the last two games. Jonathan Quick was pulled on Wednesday after the Phoenix Coyotes exploded for six goals in the first 30 minutes of a 6-3 victory. Rookie Jonathan Bernier started on Thursday against the Flyers but didn't fare much better, getting the hook in the second period after allowing six Philadelphia goals in a 7-4 loss.
"They were certainly two of our ugliest (games) of the year," Kings defenseman Rob Scuderi said. "We're not making excuses for ourselves. We have to scrape it under the rug and move on."
Who's hot - Dan Boyle has eight points in his last seven games for the Sharks. Joe Thornton has seven points in his last five games. ... For the Kings, Drew Doughty is enjoying a four-game point streak, as is Anze Kopitar, who has seven points in that span.
Injury report - Forwards Joe Pavelski and Torrey Mitchell are questionable for the Sharks with lower-body injuries. Winger John McCarthy (upper body) is San Jose's only player on IR. ... For the Kings, forward Alexei Ponikarovsky is questionable while defenseman Willie Mitchell is out, both with lower-body injuries. Winger Scott Parse (hip surgery) remains on IR.
Stat pack - Heading into Staples Center, the Sharks might still be enjoying the sweet taste of vengeance. Thursday's victory made them 3-0 this season against the Blackhawks, the team that swept them in the 2010 Western Conference final. Sweeter yet, the last victory was goaltender Antti Niemi's first game in Chicago since backstopping the Hawks to the Stanley Cup. ... Saturday night's game is a perfect opportunity for the Kings to turn things around. It is their second contest in a season-high eight-game stand at home, where they are 13-3-1.
Puck drop - If he starts on Saturday, Quick could potentially reach a Kings milestone. One more win will give him 80 for his career, good enough to tie Stephane Fiset for fifth on the Kings all-time list. No. 4 on the list, Jamie Storr, isn't far away either, with 85 career wins.