(Sports Network) - The San Jose Sharks will try to carry their longest winning streak of the season into the All-Star break, as they will shoot for a fifth straight victory when they visit the rival Los Angeles Kings tonight at Staples Center. The Sharks have matched a season-best with four straight wins, equaling a stretch the club had from Dec. 16-23. San Jose, which had lost six in a row prior to this hot streak, last won five in a row from Jan. 16-23 of last season.
San Jose, which has claimed the last three Pacific Division titles, is just two points ahead of last-place Los Angeles in the division this year. The Sharks last played on Saturday, when they notched a close regulation win over visiting Minnesota. Devin Setoguchi tallied twice and Benn Ferriero scored the winner in the third period as San Jose topped the Wild, 4-3, at HP Pavilion.
Logan Couture also scored and Patrick Marleau added two assists for the Sharks. "We're trying to be as consistent as we can," Couture said. "We're putting together better shifts back-to-back now." Antti Niemi made 23 saves and has earned the win in each game during San Jose's current hot streak.
Niemi is expected to start again tonight since fellow Sharks goaltender Antero Niittymaki will likely miss his fifth straight game with a lower-body injury. J.P. Anderson has been serving as the backup in Niittymaki's absence and has yet to make his NHL debut. San Jose is 13-9-2 on the road this year and has won two straight and four of its last five as the guest. The Sharks will play their first game following this weekend's All-Star festivities when they host Phoenix on Tuesday.
The Kings have notched wins in their last two games, marking the first time LA has recorded consecutive victories since a four-game win streak from Dec. 21-27. Los Angeles used a strong performance in net to post its most recent win, a 2-0 home victory over Boston on Monday. Jonathan Quick turned aside 34 shots to record his career-high fifth shutout of the season.
Quick is 4-2-1 with a solid 2.26 goals-against average in seven career games against the Sharks. Ryan Smyth and Andrei Loktionov provided the offense on Monday for Los Angeles, which improved to 4-8-0 in January. "That was a good game," said Kings head coach Terry Murray. "That was a good performance by everybody tonight. There was a lot of compete, a lot of skating."
Monday's victory was just the third win in 10 home games for the Kings, who are 16-9-1 in the City of Angeles this season. Following this weekend's All- star break, LA will begin a 10-game road trip with Tuesday's game in Minnesota. San Jose has taken two of three from the Kings this season and the Sharks have won 10 of the last 15 encounters against LA. The Sharks have also claimed wins in three straight and five of their last seven trips to the Staples Center.
For more information on tonight's game, be sure to read Jewels From The Crown.