Kings Get First Shot At Sharks Since Playoffs
(AP) — Ryane Clowe and the San Jose Sharks helped make sure the 2011 Stanley Cup playoffs were another miserable experience for Los Angeles Kings goalie Jonathan Quick.
Quick is playing well this season, but isn’t getting much help from his teammates.
These Pacific Division rivals meet for the first time Monday night since last season’s first-round postseason series with the visiting Kings trying to end a four-game slide.
San Jose (7-4-1) beat Los Angeles (6-4-3) in six games in the first playoff meeting between these rivals. Clowe had a team-high seven points in the series as 10 different Sharks scored and nine had at least four points.
The entertaining series featured three one-goal games, with each club scoring 20 goals.
Quick had a 3.50 goals-against average in the series after posting a 3.16 GAA in a first-round loss to Vancouver in 2010 in his postseason debut.
He’s enjoying a solid season to this point with the league’s fourth-best GAA at 1.68. He has a 2.66 GAA in starting every game of this 0-2-2 slide.
The Kings have scored six goals during this skid.
“For whatever reason, we need to try to find a way to be a little more creative, whether it’s kind of, I don’t want to say taking chances, but we have to do something to try to create some offense and score some goals for Quickie,” defenseman Jack Johnson told the Kings’ official website.
The losing streak has coincided with the return of star defenseman Drew Doughty. Los Angeles went 4-1-0 from Oct. 18-27 with Doughty out with an upper-body injury.
Kings top scorer Anze Kopitar missed the playoff series with a broken ankle. He’s got an 11-game road point streak, and has totaled seven in his last four games at the HP Pavilion.
The Sharks are continuing a six-game homestand after splitting the first two. They rallied from an early two-goal deficit in a 4-3 shootout win over Pittsburgh on Thursday before blowing a two-goal lead in the third period in Saturday’s 4-3 overtime loss to Nashville.
“We’re fighting to find a full 60 minutes from our guys but obviously the effort tonight was a lot better than it was against Pittsburgh,” coach Todd McLellan said. “A couple mistakes led to goals. I think we can clean that up and expect the same start that we had tonight on Monday against L.A. and a better finish.”
Antti Niemi made 31 saves Saturday after he was pulled just 2:04 into the Pittsburgh game in favor of Thomas Greiss.
Niemi had a 3.99 GAA in the playoff series against the Kings.
Joe Pavelski had a goal and an assist Saturday after his six-game point streak ended Thursday. He has seven goals and six assists over his last eight contests.
“It’s definitely an improvement,” Pavelski said. “There are definitely aspects of our game that are better.”
Both teams have fared well on the power play, with San Jose at 22.0 percent and Los Angeles at 20.0. The advantage may be with the Kings since the Sharks’ penalty kill is at 73.2 percent compared to Los Angeles’ 87.0.
Updated November 6, 2011
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