March 14, 2013 4:44 pm

Game 26 Preview: Los Angeles at San Jose

Projected Starting Goaltender, Los Angeles – Jonathan Quick
Season: 20 GP (19 GS) / 9-8-2 / 2.60 GAA / .894 Sv% / 0 SHO
Career vs San Jose: 16 (16) / 8-4-4 / 2.52 / .912 / 2
Last Game vs San Jose: 4/7/12 / 64 MP / 20/23 shots / 2-3 OTL
2012-13, Away: 11 (11) / 3-6-1 / 2.98 / .894 / 0

Projected Starting Goaltender, San Jose – Antti Niemi
Season: 21 (21) / 10-5-5 / 2.01 / .930 / 1
Career vs Los Angeles: 14 (14) / 8-3-2 / 2.15 / .929 / 2
Last Game vs Los Angeles: 4/7/12 / 40 MP / 23/25 / 3-2 W (ND)
2012-13, Away: 11 (11) / 6-1-3 / 1.78 / .933 / 1

Leading Scorers, Los Angeles
Total Points: Anze Kopitar (8-15=23)
Goals: Jeff Carter (17-2=19)
Assists: Anze Kopitar (8-15=23)
Plus/Minus: Justin Williams (+11; 5-12=17), Jake Muzzin (+11; 5-6=11)
Penalty Minutes: Keaton Ellerby (48*; 0-1=1)
*36 of Ellerby’s penalty minutes came as a member of the Florida Panthers.

Leading Scorers, San Jose
Total Points: Joe Thornton (5-20=25)
Goals: Patrick Marleau (13-7=20)
Assists: Joe Thornton (5-20=25)
Plus/Minus: Logan Couture (+4; 10-8=18)
Penalty Minutes: Ryane Clowe (72; 0-8=8)

A stick tap goes to: San Jose Associate Coach Larry Robinson. The Hall of Famer and Los Angeles Kings defenseman (1989-92) and head coach (1995-99) won six Stanley Cups with the Montreal Canadiens and coached the 1999-00 New Jersey Devils to the Stanley Cup. He was an assistant coach under Peter DeBoer on the New Jersey team that lost to L.A. in the Finals last year before joining Todd McLellan’s staff over the summer as an associate coach.

A fist shake goes to: Martin Havlat’s injury history. In the seven full seasons since the 2004-05 lockout, Havlat has played more than 60 games only three times. Last year, he missed nearly three months of the season due to a freak injury caused when his leg was caught as he hopped over the boards for a line change. He’s currently on injured reserve due to a lower-body injury. Without Havlat in the lineup over the past two seasons, the Sharks are 19-20-9.

Why the Kings need to win this game: There’s a rivalry between these teams, both geographically and historically. This is the first game between L.A. and San Jose since the Sharks swept the home-and-home set over the final two games of the 2011-12 regular season, denying the Kings their second divisional title. More importantly, the Sharks and Kings are a part of the playoff traffic jam in the parity-rich Western Conference, where six points separate third place from 15th. L.A. hasn’t lost back to back games since dropping a pair in Nashville and Detroit over a month ago.

Rankings and Statistics
Goals/Game: LAK – t-9 / 2.88; SJ – 29 / 2.16
Goals Against/Game: LAK – t-11 / 2.56; SJ – 5 / 2.32
Power Play: LAK – 11 / 19.4%; SJ – 18 / 17.0%
Penalty Kill: LAK – 14 / 81.6%; SJ – 3 / 87.2%
Shots/Game: LAK – 17 / 28.7; SJ – t-4 / 31.1
Shots Against/Game: LAK – 2 / 24.4; SJ – t-18 / 29.5
Faceoffs: LAK – 7 / 51.7%; SJ – 3 / 53.2%
Save Percentage: LAK – 24 / .895; SJ – t-3 / .921

Projected Lines – Los Angeles

Dustin Brown – Anze Kopitar – Justin Williams
Dustin Penner – Mike Richards – Jeff Carter
Dwight King – Jarret Stoll – Trevor Lewis
Kyle Clifford – Colin Fraser – Jordan Nolan

Jake Muzzin – Drew Doughty
Rob Scuderi – Slava Voynov
Keaton Ellerby – Alec Martinez

Jonathan Quick
Jonathan Bernier

Notes: Brad Richardson, who regularly takes warm-ups, could be a candidate to rejoin the lineup. The Kings have played in 19 consecutive games without heading to overtime, the longest non-OT stretch since finishing 22 consecutive games in regulation time between January 27 and March 14, 2003. As always, line projections are educated assessments and not definite alignments.

Projected Lines – San Jose

Logan Couture – Joe Thornton – Brent Burns
Ryane Clowe – Patrick Marleau – Joe Pavelski
James Sheppard – Scott Gomez – Tommy Wingels
Andrew Desjardins – Michael Handzus – Adam Burish

Matt Irwin – Dan Boyle
Douglas Murray – Brad Stuart
Marc-Edouard Vlasic – Justin Braun

Antti Niemi
Alex Stalock

Notes: Lines via Kevin Kurz of CSNBayArea.com. Brent Burns, a converted defenseman, had a goal in his debut as a Sharks right wing in San Jose’s 4-2 loss to St. Louis on Tuesday. Antti Niemi recorded his first career win on March 1, 2009 against the Kings. As always, line projections are educated assessments and not definite alignments.

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