Up until recently the Sharks were the big fish in the Pacific Division, but
it’s the Kings who are threatening to sink ‘em this year! San Jose are the
three-time defending Pacific Division champs but the Kings are stretching a
lead and will try to further distance themselves from the Sharks.
Last season the Sharks topped the league with 113 points, but this season
they simply haven’t been able to keep up with the Kings and languish at fourth
in the division.
Also last season the teams split six meetings, and the sharks rounded the
rivalry off with a 5-1 win in January at
the Staples Center. But a more telling stat is that
the Sharks are 5-1-1 in their last seven home games against the Kings at the HP
Home or away the Kings are on form at the minute, Los Angeles beat the New
York Islanders 5-1 on Saturday making an impressive 5-0 homestand and surrendered only four goals over the last
five games. Plus the Kings lead the NHL in penalty killing in 92.2 percent and
haven't conceded a single power-play goal in five games.
And despite the fact that The Kings haven't won a division title since
taking the Smythe in 1990-91, this year they have won six straight and eight of
nine to rise to the top of the Western Conference.
"We've been playing really solid hockey," captain Dustin Brown
said. "We're getting scoring from everyone and good goaltending…everyone
is making sure they're doing the right thing."
Are the times a-changing?
Los Angeles doesn't have the look of a team riding their luck but a team calling for a
change to the accepted order of things.
The Sharks are on a two game winning streak, and have won three of the last
four and have the belief that if they can’t beat them in the league then
they’ll beat them face to face.
But what do the sportsbooks think? Check out below for live in article odds
and also keep an eye on SBROdds.com for all today’s Hockey betting lines.
The Kings’ leading goal scorer is Justin Williams with 11 points over a
current nine-game point streak, but the
team is no one hit wonder, regular pointsmen like Dustin Brown and young
defenseman Jack Johnson have also collected 10 points between them in just the
last three games.
But Los Angeles' scoring prowess isn't the surprise it’s the tightfisted The
Kings' defence, in no small way thanks to Jon Quick's impressive play -- the
goalie is 10-1-0 over the season, plus they have the Kings are giving up an average of 1.87
goals per game, the fewest in the League. -- and a solid defense -- L.A. gives up the seventh
fewest shots in the League,
Shark first-liners Dany Heatley and Patrick Marleau have gone three games
without a goal, Monday is the perfect time to start finding the net again.
At the back things still aren’t anywhere near perfect, Antti Niemi, formerly
a Cup-lifter with Chicago, was in net for Saturday's win, but
it was his only start in the last four games and just his second win all season.
The Sharks have ruled the roost in the Golden State
for the last few years, and Monday is a huge opportunity for the Sharks to
remind the Kings who’s the boss and the Sharks may be finding their form at just the right time. They’ve collected
points in their last four and won their last two.
NHL Free Pick: The Kings are a force to
be reckoned with, but the Sharks will win this face to face, 4-2!