After a quick morning skate and some time with their friends and family, the Los Angeles Kings boarded a plan for their flight to San Jose last night.
"It reminds us that they're human beings that play the game," said Todd McLellan of the Thanksgiving schedule. "They make mistakes and those times of year, Thanksgiving and Christmas especially. You have a chance to sit back and realize, as coaches, you're riding a horse and you're probably whipping it all the time. Sometimes you've got to let it breathe a little bit too. They're human beings, they make mistakes, they don't always feel good, they're not perfect but we do appreciate what they do. And the effort they give the organization and the fans."
An important reminder of the human element of hockey.
Getting back to hockey, the Kings face off against the San Jose Sharks tonight. A rebuilding team, the Sharks sit just above the Anaheim Ducks in the basement of the Pacific Division. Having lost three straight and four of the last five, the Kings can't take any team lightly right now.
The Sharks and Kings are plagued by similar issues. They can score plenty of goals, but can't keep them out of their net. Defensemen Erik Karlsson is leading the way for the Sharks. Karlsson's 30 points in 22 games lead all defensemen, as do his 11 goals. It's not a one-man show in San Jose, Timo Meier's 12 goals, Logan Couture's 11 and Tomas Hertl's 20 points highlight a potent Sharks attack.
The Kings are still searching for consistency in their game. And especially consistency in net. Neither Cal Petersen nor Jonathan Quick has instilled any confidence for the Kings. The struggles in net have negated the Kings' massive offensive improvement this season.
Quick is expected in net tonight. And Sean Durzi looks set to make his return from injury.
Los Angeles Kings Expected Lines:
Adrian Kempe-Anze Kopitar-Kevin Fiala
Trevor Moore-Phil Danault-Viktor Arvidsson
Carl Grundstrom-Blake Lizotte-Gabe Vilardi
Jaret Anderson-Dolan-Rasmus Kupari-Arthur Kaliyev
Mikey Anderson-Drew Doughty
Sean Durzi-Matt Roy
Alex Edler-Sean Walker
Expected San Jose Sharks Lines, Per Sheng Peng SJHN:
Timo Meier-Tomas Hertl-Kevin Labanc
Matt Nieto-Logan Couture-Alexander Barbanov
Noah Gregor-Nick Bonino-Luke Kunin
Oskar Lindblom-Steven Loretnz-Evgeny Svechnikov
Jaycob Megna-Erik Karlsson
Marc-Edouard Vlasic-Matt Benning
Radim Simek-Mario Ferraro
Los Angeles Kings Power Play: 16-81, 19.75%, 22nd in NHL
Los Angeles Kings Penalty Kill: 19-74, 74.32%, 25th in NHL
San Jose Sharks Power Play: 12-57, 21.05%, 17th in NHL
San Jose Sharks Penalty Kill: 5-58, 91.38%, 1st in NHL
Los Angeles Kings Pre-Game Notes:
- Trevor Moore led the Kings in scoring against San Jose last season with one goal, three assists and four points in four games.
- Drew Doughty (28) sits one assist behind Teppo Numminen (29), Phil Housley (29) and Paul Coffey (29) from tying them for sixth-most assists against San Jose among defensemen in NHL history.
- The Kings have the fourth-highest special team time differential at +20:53 min. (PP T: 126:32; PK T: 105:39).
- Carl Grundstrom leads the team in hits with 58.
- With his 100th career game played Tuesday night at Crypto.com
How to Watch:
TV: Bally Sports West, ESPN+ // Radio: iHeartRadio