Two rivals separated by just a point in the Western Conference standings square off on Tuesday night when the Los Angeles Kings try to snap a losing streak in San Jose against the Sharks.
The defending champion Kings are fourth overall in the West with 52 points, seven back of the Pacific Division-leading Anaheim Ducks with six games to play. The Sharks are a point behind Los Angeles and also have six contests left on their regular season schedule.
Two of those are against Los Angeles, which has lost five straight and 11 of its past 14 in San Jose. The Sharks claimed a 4-3 victory at home over the Kings on March 14 thanks to a pair of goals from Logan Couture, but Los Angeles rebounded at home two days later and snapped a three-game series slide with a 5-2 victory.
The Kings will host the Sharks to conclude the regular season on April 27.
Los Angeles goes for a third victory in a row tonight after knocking off Anaheim 2-1 on Saturday. Mike Richards' power-play goal with 58 seconds left in the second period was the difference, while Jonathan Quick made 19 saves.
"We had a really good first period and they got some momentum back in the second with a short-handed goal, and then it was a track meet in the third," Kings head coach Darryl Sutter said.
Richards has three goals and seven points over a six-game point streak, while Drew Doughty notched a goal and an assist on Saturday. The defenseman has four goals and six points over his past six games.
The Sharks begin a four-game homestand on Tuesday after going 2-2-0 on a recent road trip. San Jose won the finale of the trek on Monday night, besting the Phoenix Coyotes 4-0.
Antti Niemi made 35 saves to notch his fourth shutout of the season and 23rd of his career. He was tested in the third period, but stopped all 16 shots faced.
"I think we were able to keep them out of in front of the net," Niemi said.
San Jose's offense took control with a three-goal second period, getting tallies from Couture, Tommy Wingels and Joe Pavelski 7:11 apart in the frame. Matt Irwin capped the scoring with a power-play tally late in the third.
The Sharks improved 8-12-2 on the road compared to 14-1-5 as the hosting club. They visit Phoenix and Los Angeles to close the season after this homestand.
The Kings, meanwhile, are 8-10-3 as the visiting club and have three games left at home and on the road this season.