Three games in four nights for a team set to conclude a five-game road trip can be tiring, and the San Jose Sharks have made no secret that their rigorous journey has worn them out.
Remembering the sting from last season's playoff loss to the Los Angeles Kings could provide some extra motivation.
San Jose looks to win for the fourth time on its trip Wednesday night as it faces Los Angeles for the first time this season.
The Sharks (10-1-1) have gotten off to an outstanding start while outscoring opponents 47-19. They began their road trip with a 1-0 shootout win over Detroit on Oct. 21 before suffering their first regulation defeat three nights later in a 2-1 loss to Boston.
Saturday and Sunday marked San Jose's first of 10 back-to-back sets this season, and it beat Montreal 2-0 before five different players scored in a 5-2 win over Ottawa.
"We didn't play our best, but we got the win on the road," said Logan Couture, who scored twice against the Canadiens and assisted on Tommy Wingels' goal the next night. "We could have had eight points this road trip very easily, but it's good to get six of eight (so far)."
Couture, though, didn't deny the Sharks were sluggish in the second game of the back-to-back.
"You can say it's not going to be tough, but it's tough," Couture said. "These are the nights when you need all four lines. It was big for us."
Coach Todd McLellan believes his team will be happy when the trip finally ends. San Jose begins a three-game homestand Saturday against Phoenix.
"It's taxing," McLellan said. "Until you've experienced it once during the year, you forget what it's like. We passed that test and we're going to need to pass it nine more times (in back-to-back sets)."
The Sharks may have some extra jump in their step while seeking some revenge against the Kings, who knocked San Jose out of last season's playoffs with a 2-1 victory in Game 7 of their second-round series.
Los Angeles may be the team with weary legs, as it will be ending its second back-to-back set of the season after falling 3-1 in Phoenix on Tuesday. Jarret Stoll scored the lone goal for the Kings (8-5-0), who had won four of five.
Justin Williams, who scored both goals in Game 7 against the Sharks, took a roughing penalty with 1:10 left in the second period, and the Coyotes converted on the ensuing power play with six seconds remaining to put the Kings down 2-0.
Ben Scrivens made 30 saves as Jonathan Quick got the night off.
'It was tough, a couple tough bounces out there,' Scrivens said. 'But that's how you score goals in this league: Throw pucks to the net, get guys in front, get a fortuitous bounce. We've just got to take what we can from it and move on.'
Quick, 4-1-0 with a 2.13 goals-against average over his last five starts, should be back in net for this contest. He had a 1.43 GAA in the playoff loss to San Jose.
Antti Niemi should be in goal for the Sharks after Alex Stalock made 38 saves Sunday in his first NHL start. Niemi is 9-1-1 with a 1.53 GAA, and he posted a 1.88 GAA against the Kings in a playoff series that featured just 24 goals in seven games.
The Associated Press News Service
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