Sharks vs. Kings: Five things to watch in this rivalry game

Puck Daddy

The San Jose Sharks visit the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday night (10:30 p.m. ET/7:30 p.m. ET), and we all win. Here are a few things to check out:

1. As You May Have Heard, The Home Team Does Quite Well

The last 15 times the Sharks and Kings have played, the visiting team has failed to win in regulation. In fact, the road team only won once in those 15 games – on April 5, 2012, which was a 6-5 shootout win. In the Western Conference semifinals last postseason, the home team won all seven games.

In their last 12 regular-season meetings, the home team has a 3.25 goals-for average, while the road team has a 2.25 goals-against average.

2. The Martin Jones Mystery

The Kings backup is 6-0-0 with a 0.82 goals against average, with three shutouts in five games.

So, uh, how do the Sharks beat this guy?

From Logan Couture, via LA Kings Insider:

Shoot the puck a lot. We have pro scouts who will give us a scouting report on him and we’ll go from there. But, I don’t think we can change anything that we do. Just get shots and bodies to the net and try to get second chances. He seems like he’s saving everything right now.

From Coach Todd McLellan, via Kings Insider:

A number or our players have [faced him] in the Worcester scenario, I think for our group it’s more of about preparing to face six players rather than one goaltender. The five others that are on the ice… position themselves well around the net. It allows the goaltender to feel comfortable and make a lot of saves. They’ve been successful playing that way. It’s not just the guy wearing the pads, it’s the other five that you have to beat as well.

Well isn’t that a crafty way of saying that it’s the team instead of the goalie. Wonder what McLellan thinks of the Quick contract…

3. Anze Kopitar Is Pretty OK Against San Jose

Kopitar, Hart Trophy candidate for everyone but the East Coast, had the overtime game-winner last time these two teams met in Los Angeles, but that’s to be expected: The Kings center has 26 points in his last 23 regular-season games against the Sharks.

4. Clearly The San Jose Sharks Holiday Video Was A Moment Of Regrettable Hubris From A Struggling Team

Seriously, this was a thing that was written.

5. Do Not Let The Kings Score First Or Lead Last

The Los Angeles Kings are 17-2-2 when they score first. They’ve yet to lose a game (12-0-0) when leading after two periods. So, uh, may want to avoid both scenarios there, Sharks.

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