The bruise on Alex Iafallo’s leg says a lot about how the Los Angeles Kings are performing lately.
The Kings have won four in a row and six of seven heading into their next game on Monday afternoon at the San Jose Sharks.
Iafallo’s blocked shot with 5:18 left in the third period at the Seattle Kraken on Saturday night knocked him out of the game but helped preserve a one-goal lead as the Kings went on to win 3-1.
“He’s fine, he’ll be a little bit sore,” Kings coach Todd McLellan said. “When your skill, top-six (players) are willing to do that, you’re usually winning games. You’re going to lose your share too, but you have a better chance of winning when guys sell out and sacrifice. During our little run, we’ve seen a lot of that. Good for us and, hopefully, it rubs off on everybody else.”
While the Kings have won four in a row, every other team in the Pacific Division had lost at least two straight heading into Sunday.
The wins and losses have allowed the Kings to leapfrog four teams in the division, including the Sharks, and move into second place behind the Vegas Golden Knights.
“Wins are hard to come by and we’ll take them any way we can get them,” McLellan said.
The Sharks have lost two in a row and managed just one goal despite putting 78 shots on net in those games.
“We had a lot of good chances,” Sharks captain Logan Couture said following a 2-1 overtime loss to the visiting Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday night. “We keep creating those chances and they’re going to start going in soon.”
San Jose failed to capitalize on all six power plays the past two games, and in the past 12 games have scored only twice in 28 chances with the man advantage.
“A lot of our guys are snakebit.” Sharks coach Bob Boughner said.
LA’s Phillip Danault isn’t having any difficulty finding the back of the net.
He scored twice for the Kings against the Kraken, giving him five goals in six games this month and nine on the season.
Danault, who signed with the Kings as an unrestricted free agent in the offseason, won a battle in front of the net to score his first goal against Seattle and hit an empty net to for his second.
“If you want to score goals, you have to get (close to the net),” Danault said.
The Kings have also received optimal goaltending from Jonathan Quick and Cal Petersen during the winning streak. They’ve combined to allow just four goals over the past four games.
“They’ve both been very solid for us. They’ve given us a chance,” Danault said. “It’s huge for us. You need big goalies to win, to make the playoffs, and that’s what we got.”
If the playoffs started Monday, both the Kings and Sharks would qualify. Consider that the Kings have not reached the playoffs since 2018 and the Sharks since 2019.
“There’s a lot of hockey left,” Sharks defenseman Mario Ferraro said. “We’re in a race, we’ve given ourselves a chance and we’re not even halfway through the season yet.”
–Field Level Media