Los Angeles Kings vs. San Jose Sharks Game Preview 12/22/18

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Two clubs squaring off for the second time this season, the Los Angeles Kings and the San Jose Sharks take the ice at the SAP Center. NBC Sports Network will showcase this divisional matchup, which gets going at 4 p.m. ET on Saturday, December 22.

Los Angeles Kings vs. San Jose Sharks Odds

The Sharks are 19-17 straight-up (SU) and have hurt moneyline bettors to the tune of -5.0 units so far. That win percentage, ranked third in the Pacific Division so far this season, is fairly close to what the team produced during the 2017-18 season (45-37). Through 36 regular season outings, 20 of the team’s games have gone over the total, while 15 have gone under and none have pushed. The team’s 11-6 SU at home this season.

San Jose has connected on 24.3 percent of its power play chances this season, a mark that places them in the top-10 among NHL teams. On the other hand, its penalty kill is ranked second overall, and it’s successfully killed off 85.7 percent of all penalties.

San Jose, as a collective unit, has been penalized just 3.4 times per game overall this season, and 2.4 per game over its past ten contests. The team’s had to stave off opposition power plays for just 5.7 minutes per game over its last 10 matchups, in total.

With a .898 save percentage and 24.5 saves per game, Martin Jones (15 wins, 11 losses, and three OT losses) has been the best option in goal for the Sharks this year. If the Sharks decide to rest him, however, the team might turn to Aaron Dell (5-6-6 record, .906 save percentage, 2.68 goals against average).

The Sharks will continue looking for leadership from Logan Couture and Brent Burns. Couture (36 points) has produced 13 goals and 23 assists and has recorded two or more points 10 times this year. Burns has four goals and 30 assists to his name and has notched a point in 23 contests.

Los Angeles has lost 13.1 units for bettors taking the moneyline this year and is currently 12-23 straight up (SU). A total of 19 of its games have gone under the total, while 15 have gone over and just one has pushed. Los Angeles’ 4-12 SU as an away team this season.

Los Angeles has converted on just 13.9 percent of its power play opportunities this season, a figure that’s ranked 29th in the NHL. On the other hand, its penalty kill unit is ranked 28th overall and it’s successfully killed off 74.8 percent of all penalties.

Los Angeles’ skaters have been penalized only 3.5 times per game this season, 3.8 per game over their last five outings total, and 3.6 per game over their last five on the road. The team has been forced to kill penalties just 7.5 minutes per game over their last 10 outings.

Jonathan Quick (26.8 saves per game) has been the main choice in goal for Los Angeles. Quick has three wins, 10 losses, and two OT losses to his credit, and has registered a .897 save percentage and 3.16 goals against average this year.

For the visiting Kings, the offense will be heavily coordinated by Anze Kopitar (eight goals, 14 assists) and Drew Doughty (two goals, 17 assists).

Los Angeles Kings vs. San Jose Sharks Betting Predictions

Free NHL Tip: SU Winner – Sharks, O/U – Over

Betting Notes

  • The Sharks have averaged the league’s third-most shots on goal (34.9) while the Kings have attempted just the 26th-most (34.9).
  • Penalties and power plays could prove to be even more critical than usual in the outcome of this one. The Kings are 5-8 when they serve fewer penalty minutes than their opponent and 9-17 in games where they serve fewer than 10 penalty minutes, in total. The Sharks are 10-8 when they serve fewer penalty minutes than the opposition and 14-12 when they’re in the box for less than 10 minutes.
  • San Jose is ranked 10th overall this season with 8.3 takeaways per game. That figure’s trended higher, as it has averaged 8.9 takeaways over its last 10 games and 10.2 takeaways over its last five.
  • Los Angeles has averaged 5.0 takeaways per game over its last five road games, an improvement over its season average of 4.2 takeaways per game (ranked 32nd).