The Los Angeles Kings will have a great chance to put some distance between themselves and the two teams trailing them in the division as well as gain ground on the Anaheim Ducks while trying to hold on to a playoff spot. The Kings will meet the San Jose Sharks on Thursday and Saturday, and then play back-to-back games against the Phoenix Coyotes on Monday and Tuesday. While the Kings may trail the Ducks by 11 points in the standings, their recent run of nine wins in 12 games gives them a one-point lead over the Coyotes and a two-point lead over the Sharks in the Pacific Division.
The Kings have not yet faced the Sharks this season, and will need to find a way to get goals past Antti Niemi and a defense that has the fifth lowest goals against and the third best power play in the league. The inconsistent Coyotes handed the Kings a 5-2 loss on Tuesday behind a great night from goaltender Mike Smith, evening the two teams’ season series at a game apiece.
One positive from Tuesday night’s loss was the performance on the power play, where Mike Richards and Dustin Brown each had a goal. The Kings’ power play has goals in each of its last three games and seven of their past nine games. Jeff Carter has been held without a point for two games after scoring six goals in the four games prior, and will be looked to for continued offensive production in these crucial games. The close proximity also means there is a good chances of Jonathan Quick and Jonathan Bernier each seeing some time between the pipes. With each of these games having the potential for a four-point swing, look for the Kings to come out firing.