PREVIEW: Los Angeles Kings hope to carry momentum into matchup with San Jose Sharks

Mar 21, 2021; Los Angeles, California, USA; Los Angeles Kings right wing Dustin Brown (23) celebrates the 3-1 victory against the Vegas Golden Knights at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The San Jose Sharks are set to close out a four-game homestand with two games against the Los Angeles Kings, starting Monday night.

These California rivals haven’t faced each other since early February in Los Angeles. The teams split those two games.

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It’s a quick turnaround for the Kings, who battled late to hold off the Vegas Golden Knights 3-1 on Sunday afternoon.

Los Angeles led that game 2-0 after two periods thanks to second-period goals from Sean Walker and Dustin Brown.

The Golden Knights made a strong push in the third, outshooting the Kings 24-7, but strong penalty killing helped the Kings hang on to the lead. Netminder Calvin Petersen held the Golden Knights to one third-period goal, making 41 saves on the day for Los Angeles.

“We knew their push was coming. They’re at the top of the league for a reason,” Kings head coach Todd McLellan told the press after Sunday’s victory. “For the most part, it was a really good team game. All four lines, five defensemen, and certainly the goaltender, participated. It’s nice to win that group game, instead of (win) an individual game sometimes.”

McLellan was especially happy with his team’s defense for holding off the tough Golden Knights’ forward assault.

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“All five defensemen were put in a tough spot, to play against a bigger, heavier team,” he said. “(The defense) was solid. They made a lot of simple plays. We were much better around our net for secondary chances.”

Meanwhile, the Sharks will be extra eager to get into the win column on Monday night, having lost four straight.

San Jose is coming off back-to-back losses to the St. Louis Blues, falling 2-1 in a shootout on Friday night and surrendering three third-period goals to fall 5-2 on Saturday night.

Goaltender Devan Dubnyk told the press after Saturday’s defeat he feels the Sharks are doing a lot of good things, making it even more difficult to keep coming up short.

“It’s frustrating,” Dubnyk said. “Sometimes, it just feels like it’s something each night. We’re playing well and we just can’t quite stay with it, for whatever reason. We just need to figure out what that is, because we’ve been playing good hockey. We’re just not getting the results.”

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Saturday’s game against the Blues became particularly frustrating when Sharks’ veteran Patrick Marleau was called for a faceoff violation at the 4:10 mark in the third frame, putting San Jose on the penalty kill and setting St. Louis up for their three-goal spree.

“Absolutely ridiculous,” Sharks head coach Bob Boughner said of the faceoff violation after the game. “It was a brutal, brutal call that, in my mind, cost us. It took the whole game out of our hands a little bit there.”

–Field Level Media