March 16, 2013 3:04 pm

Game 27 Preview: San Jose at Los Angeles

Projected Starting Goaltender, Los Angeles – Jonathan Bernier
Season: 8 GP (6 GS) / 5-2-0 record / 1.93 GAA / .917 Sv% / 0 SHO
Career vs San Jose: 3 (1) / 0-2-0 / 4.33 / .866 / 0
Last Game vs San Jose: 3/14/13 / 30 MP / 13-14 shots / 3-4 L
2012-13, Home: 4 (4) / 3-0-0 / 1.79 / .918 / 0

Projected Starting Goaltender, San Jose – Antti Niemi
Season: 22 (22) / 11-5-5 / 2.06 / .929 / 1
Career vs Los Angeles: 15 (15) / 9-3-2 / 2.21 / .928 / 2
Last Game vs Los Angeles: 3/14/13 / 60 MP / 34-37 shots / 4-3 W
2012-13, Away: 10 (10) / 4-4-2 / 2.27 / .926 / 0

Leading Scorers, Los Angeles
Total Points: Anze Kopitar (8-16=24)
Goals: Jeff Carter (17-2=19)
Assists: Anze Kopitar (8-16=24)
Plus/Minus: Justin Williams (+11; 3-14=17)
Penalty Minutes: Keaton Ellerby (48*; 0-2=2)
*36 of Ellerby’s penalty minutes came as a member of the Florida Panthers.

Leading Scorers, San Jose
Total Points: Joe Thornton (5-21=26)
Goals: Patrick Marleau (13-8=21)
Assists: Joe Thornton (5-21=26)
Plus/Minus: Logan Couture (+5; 12-9=21)
Penalty Minutes: Ryane Clowe (72; 0-8=8)

A stick tap goes to: Logan Couture. The 2007 NHL Draft wasn’t exactly flush with riches, as only three players of the 211 selected have developed into NHL All-Stars: Patrick Kane (1st overall), Jamie Benn (129th overall) and Couture, whom San Jose chose with the ninth overall pick. The Sharks left wing who turns 24 later this month has 80 goals in 210 career NHL games and has infused the roster with the skilled youth necessary to maintain its annual competitiveness either atop or near the top of the Pacific Division. He has five points (4-1=5) in the last four games.

A fist shake goes to: The Teal Revolution. All the aquamarine-infused jerseys that became so popular during the 1990’s? They’re ugly, and they’re stale carbon copies of one of the more unique team logos in sports history.

Why the Kings need to win this game: After dropping a pair of road games earlier this week, the Kings would serve themselves well to open a five-game home stand with a win. A three-game losing streak would be troublesome in a 48-game season. Both teams have accumulated 30 points in 26 games and are likely to be in close proximity over the season’s final month.

Rankings and Statistics
Goals/Game: LAK – t-10 / 2.88; SJS – 29 / 2.23
Goals Against/Game: LAK – 13 / 2.62; SJS – t-4 / 2.35
Power Play: LAK – 11 / 19.8%; SJS – 12 / 18.3%
Penalty Kill: LAK – t-17 / 80.2%; SJS – 3 / 86.6%
Shots/Game: LAK – t-14 / 29.0; SJS – t-5 / 30.9
Shots Against/Game: LAK – 2 / 24.4; SJS – t-19 / 29.8
Faceoffs: LAK – 9 / 51.2%; SJS – 2 / 53.5%
Save Percentage: LAK – 25 / .893; SJS – 4 / .921

Projected Lines – Los Angeles

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

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

Jonathan Bernier
Jonathan Quick

Notes: 20-year old Tyler Toffoli, who was second in the AHL with 28 goals at the time of his call-up, is poised to make his NHL debut. Dustin Penner is likely to slot alongside Kyle Clifford and Colin Fraser, though he’ll probably see some shifts with Jarret Stoll and Trevor Lewis as well. The Kings have won eight of their last nine home games. Los Angeles has played in 20 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: Martin Havlat (lower-body) has resumed skating according to Kevin Kurz of CSNBayArea.com, though he is doubtful for tonight’s game. San Jose is 11-4-3 in its last 18 games versus Los Angeles. As always, line projections are educated assessments and not definite alignments.

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