San Jose (28-10-7) at Los Angeles (25-17-3)

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Temp: 60° F
  • Game info: 10:30 pm EST Mon Jan 11, 2010
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As they struggle to score goals, the San Jose Sharks badly need better goalkeeping. Still, they may want to consider giving Evgeni Nabokov(notes) a break.

Coming off their worst offensive game in nearly a month, the Pacific Division-leading Sharks try to end the Los Angeles Kings’ recent domination of the series Monday night at Staples Center.

San Jose (28-10-7) scored two goals or fewer in each of its last three games, losing two. Though Patrick Marleau(notes) scored for the fourth straight contest, the Sharks fell 4-1 to Detroit on Saturday night - the first time San Jose was held to less than two goals since a 2-1 loss at Phoenix on Dec. 12.

Defense has also been a problem, with the Sharks allowing 10 goals in their last two defeats. Nabokov is having another outstanding season, but subpar play from the veteran contributed to the losses, as he gave up nine goals in those contests.

Fatigue could be a factor, as Nabokov is fourth in the league with 2,317 minutes played. With San Jose facing a quick turnaround with a game at Phoenix on Tuesday night, the Sharks may decide to give their top goalie a breather.

Nabokov’s poor play against Los Angeles (25-17-3) is another reason why Thomas Greiss(notes) could make his seventh start of the season. Nabokov surrendered a total of 10 goals in his last two games versus the Kings and four or more in four of his last five contests against them.

San Jose lost four of its last five (1-3-1) against Los Angeles, giving up 11 goals in dropping the last two matchups.

The Sharks, though, have won three straight and six of seven on the road, and San Jose went 9-0-2 in Nabokov’s last 11 starts away from HP Pavilion. He posted a 2.14 goals-against average during that stretch.

Los Angeles could use a better effort from Jonathan Quick(notes), who stopped 19 of 23 shots before being pulled with 14:39 remaining in a 4-3 loss to St. Louis on Saturday night. Quick had surrendered two goals or fewer in each of his previous four games.

The Kings, 10 points behind the Sharks in the Pacific, are 0-2 on a season-high seven-game homestand.

“We are obviously disappointed about these last two losses,” defenseman Drew Doughty(notes) said. “We’ve got to come out even stronger.”

The Kings had 24 shots versus the Blues, two nights after recording 51 in a 2-1 loss to Detroit.

Anze Kopitar(notes) scored against St. Louis, giving him two goals and two assists in his last four games. The fourth-year center had three goals and three assists in his last four games against the Sharks.

Los Angeles center Jarret Stoll(notes) recorded four assists in his last three games, but is looking to snap a six-game goal drought. He had an assist in the Kings’ 6-2 win over the Sharks on Jan. 4, the teams’ last meeting.

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Monday, Jan 11