PREVIEW: San Jose Sharks go for series sweep, cooler heads vs. Los Angeles Kings

Mar 22, 2021; San Jose, California, USA; Los Angeles Kings defenseman Kurtis MacDermid (56) fights against San Jose Sharks right wing Kurtis Gabriel (29) during the first period at SAP Center at San Jose. Mandatory Credit: Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

The San Jose Sharks are looking to make it two consecutive wins as they prepare for Wednesday night’s rematch against the visiting Los Angeles Kings.

It remains to be seen if there will be fewer fireworks in the sequel, following some disciplinary action from the league geared toward the Sharks.

On Tuesday, the NHL handed Sharks’ forward Kurtis Gabriel a fine for a pregame altercation with Kings’ blueliner Kurtis MacDermid, which evolved into both players dropping their gloves and exchanging punches at the 10:52 mark of the first period on Monday.

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Sharks coach Bob Boughner and the team were also issued fines.

“He can have a nice career in this league (but) he’s got to keep it between the whistles,” Boughner said of Gabriel, who has an ever-growing reputation for picking fights. “He plays on the edge, with a ton of passion. … But it’s got to be controlled.”

Boughner told the media he will decide after Wednesday’s morning skate whether Gabriel will be in the lineup for the rematch.

It was a tight battle between these California rivals when they faced off on Monday in San Jose, but the Sharks held on to win 2-1, snapping a rough, four-game losing skid.

“We maybe brought our B game, but we found a way to win,” Sharks’ captain Logan Couture said after the game. “On this homestand, we’ve been finding ways to lose.”

The Sharks’ win came in large part because of goaltender Martin Jones, who has recently been splitting starting duties with fellow netminder Devan Dubnyk. Jones allowed only one goal on 42 shots from the Kings and was especially impressive in the third frame as Los Angeles outshot San Jose 15-4.

“I’ve felt really good the last few games,” Jones said. “I’m just trying to focus on playing. Just try not to think too much.”

Boughner recognized that focus from Jones.

“I know he’s been working hard and making the proper adjustments,” he said. “For me — I’m not a goalie guy, but it’s getting the save you need at the right time in the game, and he did that.”

This isn’t to say the Kings were completely disappointed with their performance on Monday night, given they were playing on the tail end of a back-to-back and were able to keep the game close.

“I thought our group played well,” Kings’ coach Todd McLellan said. “We didn’t give up much. Both (San Jose’s) goals go in off one of our players. Sometimes it’s not your night and yet you put in a pretty good effort.”

That being said, McLellan wants to see more follow-through from the Kings’ offense.

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“It wasn’t in waves, but every now and then we’d get a good Grade A opportunity,” he said. “We hit a post. We had an open net at the end. Even with 0.2 seconds left, we were staring at the goaltender and couldn’t get the puck up.”

–Field Level Media