An ordinary game in late January.
Yes, that’s what the Kings are facing here tonight in San Jose. But there is always extra meaning when it comes to playing the Sharks, even beyond divisional implications.
This is the last game before the All-Star break, one of several key markers during the season.
“Any time you have a break coming up you want to go into it on a good note, a positive note,” Kings center Jarret Stoll said on Wednesday morning. “Two points is obviously that. But it doesn’t matter who we are playing: San Jose, New Jersey or Florida.
“We need points. It doesn’t matter who we are going up against. Games in our division, we know how important those are.”
The Kings are out of a playoff spot, trailing Calgary by one point for the final wild-card slot. They’ve won three games since the Christmas break.
A good start has, at times, been an issue during the slump.
“We’ve struggled with that,” Stoll said. “We all know that and we’ve got to make sure we try to fix that tonight. Talk is cheap, but we’ve got to make that happen.”
Kings Coach Darryl Sutter talked about the advanced statistics element.
“There hasn’t been much talk about our team the last couple of months about analytics,” he said. “They talked about earlier in the year, when it was so negative and we were so bad. All that stuff, we’ve been a dominant team again."
“We’ve just got to find a way to get that other goal out of it. Our season has been predicated on that. When we get stuck in that, when we’re not scoring, we’ve had some of our guys not want to stick with the 200-foot part of it, so you get scored on."
The scratches, based on the morning skate, look to be forward Andy Andreoff and defenseman Jamie McBain. Defenseman Jeff Schultz was not on the ice and eventually could be sent to the Kings’ minor-league affiliate in Manchester, N.H.