Why the regular season matters to the Kings

The Kings’ victory Wednesday over the San Jose Sharks extended their mastery over their Pacific Division rivals to 11-0-1 in their last 12 games at Staples Center, including the regular season and playoffs. The Kings won all four games against the Sharks at Staples Center in their second-round playoff series last spring, underscoring the value of home-ice advantage during the postseason. The Sharks went 10-1-1 to lead the NHL with 21 points before losing to the Kings 4-3 in overtime Wednesday. The Kings could have fallen seven points behind the Sharks, but by winning in OT, they moved within four. The Pacific Division race is one that bears monitoring all season, if for no other reason than the team with home-ice advantage will have an edge in the playoffs.

“That’s probably the closest you can get to playoff hockey this time of year,” Kings center Anze Kopitar said of the intensity of Wednesday’s game.

Added Kings winger Justin Williams: “Home ice has got to be a hard place for teams to come here and play. We need to keep pace in the Western Conference, and we will need another big game.”

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