The Los Angeles Kings fell to the San Jose Sharks by a 4-3 score on Thursday night, but get another shot at their Pacific Division rival tonight. Jonathan Bernier will get the start between the pipes for the Kings, who need to see his home success continue if they want to see a different result than Thursday. Bernier is 3-0-0 at home this season with a stellar 1.79 goals against average and a .918 save percentage.
The Kings have lost two straight games, but now get five straight contests at home. Four of those five games are against division rivals, ever-important games in this shortened season. Bernier stopped 13 of 14 shots in relief of Jonathan Quick on Thursday, and has a 5-2-0 record this season with a 1.93 goals against average.
The Kings and Sharks enter tonight’s game with identical point totals, but the Kings have the seventh spot thank to two more wins. Both teams are unlikely to catch the Anaheim Ducks in the standings, giving even more importance to “four-point” games like tonight. Bernier will look for support on the other end of the ice from Dustin Brown, who had two goals against the Sharks on Thursday and has five goals in three games. It would also be a great opportunity for Jeff Carter to re-find his scoring touch, as the star center has been held scoreless in three games following a stellar run that saw him score 11 goals in 10 games.
The Kings seem to have shake off the Stanley Cup hangover, and have a great chance to prove they are a threat to repeat with a solid performance in the next two weeks; a win against the Sharks tonight would be a great start.