The San Jose Sharks enter Friday’s game against the Los Angeles Kings coming off a home loss, yet still carry plenty of momentum.
Despite getting upended 5-1 by the Winnipeg Jets on Wednesday, the Sharks have won nine of their last 11 games. And their most recent victory in that run came on the road Monday — a 4-3 decision over the Kings in overtime.
The Kings used the momentum of a competitive game against the Sharks to rebound with a 4-1 victory over a New York Islanders team that was on a 17-game points streak as recently as last weekend.
The Kings won for the fifth time in their last eight games, going 5-2-1 in that stretch.
After three consecutive overtime victories, the Sharks appeared to have little left at home against the Jets, who have been strong on the road all season.
“Lifeless is the best word across the board — 5-on-5, power play, penalty kill,” Sharks coach Peter DeBoer said, according to NHL.com. “We didn’t have a response.”
Not only did the Sharks not convert six power-play attempts against the Jets, they didn’t score on their seven previous power plays before that game, either.
The Sharks played without forward Tomas Hertl for a fourth consecutive games as he continues to work his way through an ankle injury. He is doubtful heading into Friday’s game.
Logan Couture has been picking up the slack without Hertl, but his seven-game points streak came to an end against Winnipeg. The Sharks will be looking for more energy against what seems to be an improving Los Angeles team.
“I don’t know what the answer is,” DeBoer said. “We’ve got a lot of hockey left to play here in the next two to three weeks. I hope it’s not fatigue, but if it is, we’ve got to rebound. You get what you earn in this league usually, and we didn’t do enough to win a game (Wednesday).”
The Kings had plenty of energy for the Islanders on Wednesday after losing three of their previous four games. That one victory in that stretch was a convincing 5-1 effort against the Edmonton Oilers, and the Kings looked similarly confident against the Islanders.
Kings goalie Jonathan Quick set the tone with 24 saves. The veteran is 5-1-1 in his last seven games with a 2.00 goals-against average. He is back dominating again after a brutal start to the season, when gave up 19 goals over his first three games.
Under new head coach Todd McLellan, the Kings are slowly starting to adapt to their new system.
The Kings took the lead on the Islanders with a power-play goal from Jeff Carter in the second period. Matt Roy gave the Kings a two-goal lead midway through the third period.
“I think in this league, if you get a lead in the third, you better hold onto it,” Kings forward Blake Lizotte said, according to NHL.com. “So I think we stay patient with our system and gain lines. That’s the most important thing is not turning the puck over on our blue line, especially with the lead in the third period.
“When you got the lead, you got to make smart, hard plays, and I feel we’ve done that for the most part when we had the lead going into the third.”
–Field Level Media