NHL on NBCSN: Kings and Sharks battle at Levi’s Stadium

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NBCSN will continue its coverage of the 2014-15 campaign as the San Jose Sharks host the L.A. Kings at Levi’s Stadium at 10:00 p.m. ET. In addition to NBCSN, you can also watch the game and pre-show online.

The lone Stadium Series game this season sees the L.A. Kings battle the San Jose Sharks tonight at Levi’s Stadium.

It’s the fourth of five meetings between the two clubs.

The Kings will look to stretch their win streak to a season-best seven games while the Sharks try to avoid a third loss in four outings.

The Sharks currently own the second wild card position in the Western Conference with 68 points, but the Kings are two points behind and have three games in hand.

San Jose has won two of the first three games.

Patrick Marleau has two goals and two assists during the season series while goaltender Antti Niemi is 2-1 with a .945 save percentage and 1.69 G.A.A. in three games against the Kings this season.

Anze Kopitar also has a goal and three assists in three games against the Sharks this season. Goaltender Jonathan Quick is 1-2 with a .890 save percentage and and 3.06 G.A.A. against San Jose this season.

L.A. has 16 players who have played in an outdoor game previously including 15 who were a part of last season’s Stadium Series game between the Kings and Anaheim Ducks at Dodger Stadium.

The fifth and final meeting between the two clubs goes April 11 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

Oilers have had ‘constructive conversations’ with Petry’s agent, but no contract yet

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When Cody Franson was traded to Nashville, much of the focus leading up to the March 2 deadline turned to Edmonton’s Jeff Petry.

Like Franson, Petry is a right-shooting defenseman in the final year of his contract. Both players can become unrestricted free agents this summer. And unlike Mike Green in Washington — who also matches the preceding description — Petry plays for a team that’s well on its way to missing the playoffs.

Today, Oilers GM Craig MacTavish provided an update on Petry.

“I’ll just say this about Jeff — we really challenged him on a one-year contract and he’s clearly met that challenge. His game is at a level I think right now that it hasn’t been at before and I give Jeff a lot of credit for that,” MacTavish said, per the club’s website.

“As for a contract or what the course of action is going forward, I’ve had many conversations over the last four weeks with Wade Arnott, Jeff’s representative, as you might imagine and they’ve all been constructive conversations but I’m just going to leave it at that and we’ll see what happens going forward.”

The consensus is that Petry, 27, will be traded. Perhaps to Los Angeles, as a replacement for Slava Voynov. Or maybe to the Ducks, who were “pretty adamant about trying to add another d-man” even before Sami Vatanen was lost for 4-6 weeks. That’s just two potential destinations. There are others.

Here’s MacT:

Back from the brink, Kings still ‘have a lot of work left to do’

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Exactly two weeks ago, the Los Angeles Kings woke up in 12th place in the Western Conference. The defending Stanley Cup champions had won just four times since Christmas, were languishing five points back of a playoff spot, and even the most handsome of hockey bloggers had finally started to doubt them.

Yada, yada, yada, the Kings woke up this morning in a playoff spot. They’ve won six straight and, per Sports Club Stats, have seen their chances of qualifying for the postseason jump from 25.3 percent to 68.8 percent. As for those handsome hockey bloggers? They’re picking on the Ducks and Sharks now.

“We weren’t playing even close to our capability,” said defenseman Drew Doughty, per the Associated Press. “We’re seeing what we can do when everyone starts to perform. We’re happy with the way we’re playing now. But we can’t get ahead of ourselves. We need to keep winning. We have a lot of work left to do.”

Indeed they do, starting Saturday in Santa Clara, outdoors against their better-be-motivated rivals from San Jose.

What’s more, the Kings have played 31 homes games, compared to just 26 on the road, meaning their remaining schedule is heavy on away dates. And lest we forget, this is not a team that’s been good on the road this season (8-12-6).

The March 2 trade deadline also looms. Will GM Dean Lombardi add a defenseman? (Jeff Petry? Andrej Sekera? Roman Polak?) We only ask, because playing Doughty 30 minutes a night might not be the best way to get him fresh for the playoffs. With no Slava Voynov, he’s averaged almost four minutes more than he did last season.

The Kings know they aren’t out of the woods yet. When asked about the excitement of playing the Sharks in front of 70,000 fans Saturday at Levi’s Stadium, goalie Jonathan Quick made that point clear.

“You’re playing for two points,” he said, per L.A. Kings Insider. “I think we’re tied with them right now in the standings. That’s the only thing you’re excited about. It’s going to be a playoff-type game. We know we’re fighting for a spot.”

Video: Kings stretch streak to six with win over Avs

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Colorado captain Gabriel Landeskog opened the scoring with his 14th of the season at 3:09 of the first period; however, it was all L.A. after that.

Jeff Carter tied it 1-1 at 1:16 of the second and Tyler Toffoli scored the eventual game winner at 6:24 of the middle frame as the L.A. Kings defeated the Colorado Avalanche 4-1 Wednesday night.

Drew Doughty had a pair of assists in the win.

“With the way the schedule is and the way the season is and the importance of every game, you need something out of everybody,” said Kings’ coach Darryl Sutter. “It’s really hard to play guys who have only got five or six goals. We need more out of [them]. If they’re going to play teen-minutes as forwards, you have to get more out of them, and what you’re seeing is some balance out of our forward group.”

L.A. has now won six straight while out-scoring opponents 23-12 during the win streak. The Kings now have the same point total as the San Jose Sharks (66) for the second wild card spot in the Western Conference.

Jonathan Quick made 42 saves in the win including 18 in the second period.

Semyon Varlamov stopped 21 shots in the loss.

“I can’t complain,” said Avs coach Patrick Roy. “I understand it’s frustrating because that was a big game for us. At the same time, I’m very happy with the effort. I’m very happy with how we competed. I’m very happy with how hard we worked, back checked [and] our fore-check was there.

“We got a lot of shots [and] we had a lot of traffic in front of the net. I thought we did a lot of good things. Nothing to show for it tonight, but I think this is how we have to play.”

Carter added his second of the night into an empty net. Dustin Brown had the other Kings’ goal.

Tonight marked the first of three games between the two clubs. They’ll meet again on March 10 in Denver.

NHL on NBCSN: Kings look to continue surge against Colorado

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Wednesday’s Rivalry Night coverage on NBCSN will feature a doubleheader. The second half will see the Colorado Avalanche host the Los Angeles Kings at Pepsi Center at 10:00 p.m. ET. In addition to NBCSN, you can also watch the game online.

With five straight victories, the Kings are one of the hottest teams in the league right now, but that’s after they dug themselves into a sizable hole. They’re still on the outside looking in when it comes to the Wild Card race and if they slip now, it won’t be long before the Minnesota Wild and Dallas Stars pass them.

So every game remains critical for the Kings as they look to extend their winning streak tonight. If this game is important to Los Angeles though, it’s vital for Colorado.

Editor’s Note: Pro Hockey Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $50,000 Fantasy Hockey league for Wednesday’s NHL games. It’s just $25 to join and first prize is $5,000. Starts Wednesday at 7:00 p.m. ET. Here’s the FanDuel link.

The Avalanche are seven points back in the fight for a playoff spot and also trail hopefuls Los Angeles, Minnesota, and Dallas. That’s a ton of ground for the Avalanche to make up with less than two months left in the 2014-15 campaign. To put that into context, the Avalanche have just a 4% chance of making the playoffs at this point, per Sports Club Stats. That falls to 2.1% if they lose to the Kings in regulation time tonight.

“Every day we come to the rink, we’re focused on that next two,” Avalanche center Matt Duchene told the Denver Post. “We’ve played pretty well recently. Even that New York game, I thought we played pretty well and could have had two points there. We’ll continue to press forward.”

Like Los Angeles, Colorado has indeed played well lately. The squad earned decisive victories against Dallas and Arizona on Saturday and Monday respectively. The Avalanche even managed to prevent the Coyotes from recording a single shot on goal for an entire period, which is a rare feat to say the least.

Jarome Iginla has also stepped up with two goals and seven points in his last four contests. He’ll be countered by Los Angeles’ Jeff Carter and Dwight King, who have each registered seven points in their last four games.

This is the first meeting between these two squads in 2014-15, but they’re also scheduled to play on March 10 and April 4. The Avalanche were 1-1-1 against the Kings in 2013-14 and under the circumstances, they likely need a better showing this time around. First things first though; both squads will compete for tonight’s key points.