LOS ANGELES -- If the Sharks are going to win their first game inside the Staples Center in 19 months, they're probably going to need to beat a hot rookie goaltender.

Martin Jones, the likely starter for the Kings on Thursday night, has won his first six NHL games, three by shutout.

But Jones isn't a total mystery to the Sharks. At least a half-dozen of them faced Jones in the minors.

"He was in Manchester the entire time I was in Worcester so I played against him a fair share," Tommy Wingels said. "He had success down there and obviously the success he's had up here. From a guy who's seen him play, it's not surprising."

Wingels said the fact that Jones is 6-foot-4 is a big part of his game. In his first stint in the NHL, Jones is 6-0 with a .972 save percentage and 0.82 goals-against average.

"He's a big guy. That's what he uses to his advantage," Wingels said. "Playing at the top of the paint, eliminating he angles and using his size. He's got a lot of talent in goal and when you combine talent with his size, it's a pretty good combination."

Wingels said he scored on Jones "once or twice" and hoped to do that again Thursday night.

"A guy like that, you've got to make him move and you've got to get second or third chances," Wingels said. "When he's scrambling or out of position, that's what you've got to do."

Sharks coach Todd McLellan recognized the challenge his team faces in beating Jones, but stressed that it's the other Los Angeles players on the ice who present at least an equal challenge.

"The five others that are on the ice do a tremendous job for themselves defensively and position themselves well around the net," McLellan said. "It allows the goaltender to feel comfortable and make a lot of saves.

"It's not just the guy wearing the pads," he added. "It's the other guys you have to beat as well."

Antti Niemi will be in net for the Sharks, who will be bucking a trend that has seen the visitors lose each of the last 14 regular-season and playoff games between the teams.

  • McLellan's top two lines are picking up where they left off in Tuesday night's 4-2 win in St. Louis with Marty Havlat alongside Logan Couture and Patrick Marleau.

    "Marty, when he's going he's awesome to play with. He's creative, he sees the ice well," Couture said. "For myself, playing with someone who sees the ice that well, hopefully I can find some spots where I can shoot the puck and maybe score a goal here and there. Looking forward to it."

  • Patrick Marleau will be skating in his 1,200th NHL game, all with San Jose.

    "It's been pretty lucky," said Marleau, who at 34 is on a point-a-game pace that could match his most productive NHL season. "I've been fortunate to be able to stay with one club for a long time."

    For more on the Sharks, see David Pollak's Working the Corners blog at blogs.mercurynews.com/sharks. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/PollakOnSharks.