Pacific showdown 12/19/13
UNDATED San Jose and Los Angeles face off in a top match-up on the NHL's 11-game schedule tonight. The host Kings go into the game just three points back of Anaheim for the lead in the Pacific Division while the Sharks are five back. Rookie Martin Jones has been keying a recent string of success for the Kings. He's the first goalie in team history to start his career with six straight wins and three of them have been shutouts. That's helped spark a six-win-in-seven-game stretch for LA.
Some punch on the power play would go a long way in helping the Sharks pull this one out. They are 0-for-16 with the man advantage in their last seven road games.
The injury-depleted Penguins hope to just keep chugging along when they host Minnesota tonight. The Eastern Conference leaders have won five in a row and are 10-1-1 in their last 12 games. Pittsburgh is expected to be without offensive threat Evgeni Malkin for the second straight game after he suffered a leg injury in a game over the weekend against Detroit. The Penguins expect to have James Neal back in the line-up after he served a five-game suspension.
Vancouver looks to get back to its winning ways when the Canucks visit Dallas tonight. Vancouver had its seven-game winning streak snapped Tuesday against Minnesota.