In terms of hyping the first Kings-Sharks game of the season, don’t expect much from Terry Murray. This is a coach, after all, who claims not to pay attention to where the Kings are in the standings. But in case he ends up reading this at some point, the Kings enter the game in first place in the West, six points ahead of the perennially strong Sharks. Of course, each team has only played 15 games, so the sample size is modest at best, but it’s not a ridiculous stretch to think that these two teams could be fighting for the Pacific Division title late in the season.
MURRAY: “I never look at a game as a measuring stick for a hockey club. It’s a big hockey game. It’s a division rival, and we’re going to have to come out and play a complete game against probably the most talented team in the National Hockey League. They’re big, they’re strong. Their big players are their skill players, and we’re just going to have to be ready to play a real solid game.”
The Sharks enter the game with a 3-0-1 record in their last four games after a 5-5-1 start, but Sharks coach Todd McLellan didn’t really take the bait either when asked about this being a big game for his team.
MCLELLAN: “Absolutely, but leaving L.A. out of it, every night is a test for us. Teams are starting to play a little different in the league. You see different types of neutral-zone forechecks. Often, lately, the biggest test has been ourselves. Never mind the opponent. Can we put together a 60-minute effort? Does it fall off at 55? At 50? Do we have everybody playing the right way? I believe that will be the first test we take tonight. After that, the Kings pose a lot of problems, not just for the Sharks but for a lot of teams around the league. They’re a very good team.”