NHL Hockey: Los Angeles Kings vs San Jose Sharks - Preview, Odds and Prediction - 04/09/2021

by Big Al Staff

Friday NHL Preview: Los Angeles versus San Jose.

Los Angeles visits San Jose tonight in a battle of two West Division teams fighting for their playoff lives. The puck drops at 10:38 PM ET.

The Kings ended a three-game losing streak with a 4-3 win against Arizona on Wednesday. Los Angeles got a goal from Jaret Anderson-Dolan in the first period but entered the third period trailing, 3-1. Goals from Adrian Kempe and Jeff Carter deadlocked the score before Carl Grundstrom scored the game-winner at the 6:05 minute mark.

Jonathan Quick made 24 saves in the victory. Todd McClellan is likely to turn back to Calvin Petersen as his goaltender tonight. Quick has not started in two straight games for the Kings since mid-February. Petersen has a 7-9-4 record this season with a 2.57 goals-against-average and a .923 save percentage. The 26-year old has started three of the last five games for Los Angeles.

Center Anze Kopitar leads the team with 40 points coming from eight goals and 32 assists. Defenseman Drew Doughty has scored eight goals with 22 assists. Right wing Alex Iafallo is third on the team with 23 points from nine goals and 14 assists.

Despite the win on Tuesday, the Kings have lost six of their last eight games. With 36 points to date from their 15-17-6 record, Los Angeles is in seventh place in the West, seven points behind Arizona for the fourth and final playoff spot from the division. This contest is just their second game on the road in a stretch of eight games which concludes with a two-game homestand against Vegas next week.

San Jose had their four-game winning streak end with a 5-1 loss at home to Anaheim on Tuesday. The Sharks fell behind, 2-0 before Patrick Marleau scored on a power play to pull his team within one goal. The Ducks scored the final three goals for the victory.

Martin Jones stopped 29 shots in the defeat. He has a 14-8-2 record with a 3.08 goals-against-average and a .904 save percentage. He has made five straight starts so it is not likely that Doug Wilson will opt for backup Devan Dubnyk against the Kings. Jones has a 5-1-0 record against Los Angeles this season with a 2.37 goals-against-average and a .932 save percentage.

Left wing Evander Kane leads the Kings with 33 points from 16 goals and 17 assists. Center Logan Couture adds 14 goals and 11 assists. Center Tomas Hertl has another 11 goals and 13 assists to rank third on the team with 24 points.

San Jose has won six of their last nine to rise to sixth place in the West and pull within five points of Arizona. Their 17-17-4 record gives them 38 points. This contest is the second game of a five-game homestand for the Sharks. They will likely still be without defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic who is questionable with an upper-body injury.

This showdown is the first of a two-game series between these two teams, who will play tomorrow night in Los Angeles. BetAnySports lists San Jose as a -124 money line favorite, with the total set at 5.5.

Computer prediction:  San Jose Sharks 3 Los Angeles Kings 2

All photographic images used for editorial content have been licensed from the Associated Press.

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