Devils host Kings today at Prudential Center
KINGS (32-19-3) at DEVILS (35-16-2)
: Kings 7-3-0; Devils 4-5-1
Season Series --
This is the first and only meeting between the clubs this season.
Big Story --
The Kings are coming to the Garden State after beating Boston in a shootout, 3-2, Saturday night. They are now 4-0 on their road trip that concludes Sunday night against the Devils. L.A. has won five straight overall, seven of its last eight and nine of 13 in January. The Devils, who edged Toronto in overtime on Friday, will definitely have their hands full.
With the shootout win in Boston, the Kings are on season-high five-game winning streak. Ironically, their last two major winning of this length also came in Olympic years. They won five in a row in 2006 (Feb. 11-March 7) and six straight in 2002 (March 11-23). The team record is eight wins in a row, which the Kings have accomplished twice (1991-92 and 1972-73). Anze Kopitar and Dustin Brown scored in Boston. Jarret Stoll netted the shootout winner in the sixth round. The Kings, though, had to play Saturday's game without Jack Johnson, who injured his arm Thursday in Columbus and is listed as day-to-day. Johnson is supposed to play for Team USA in the Olympics.
After blowing a two-goal lead late in the third period Friday, the Devils got a goal from Travis Zajac
4:15 into overtime to beat Toronto, 5-4. Zajac finished with that goal plus three assists while Zach Parise
scored twice and added an assist and Dainius Zubrus
had a goal and two assists. Zajac, Parise and Zubrus made up the Devils first line for the first two periods and they looked like they had immediate chemistry. However, Jamie Langenbrunner
was bumped up to right wing on that line for the third period and that's where he was in Saturday's practice, too. Langenbrunner, Zajac and Parise have long been the Devils top trio, so expect them back together in this one. Rookie wing Niclas Bergfors
was a healthy scratch Friday for the first time all season. Coach Jacques Lemaire was unclear whether Bergfors will get back in the lineup Sunday, but the Devils sent Nick Palmieri
down to Lowell on Saturday, signaling that Bergfors will return.
Who's Hot --
Parise was robbed five times by Toronto goalies Gustavsson and Vesa Toskala in his attempts for the hat trick. He was by far the best forward on the ice Friday night and now has 25 goals and 30 assists for a team-high 55 points. Since finishing 2009 with only one assist in his last six games, Kings forward Anze Kopitar
has 7 goals and 9 assists in 13 January games. The Slovenian now has 22 goals and 31 assists.
Injury Report --
The Devils are still without Patrik Elias
(concussion symptoms), David Clarkson
(leg) and Paul Martin
(forearm). Martin is skating on his own and will be re-evaluated Monday. The Kings could be without Johnson again, but Davis Drewiske could play tonight for the first time since Jan. 7. Justin Williams (leg/ankle) and Andrei Lokitonov (shoulder) remain out.
Stat Pack --
The Kings are 4-for-9 on the power play in their last three games. Both of their goals Saturday came with the man-advantage. The Devils have had only five power play opportunities in their last four games, but they've scored two goals.
Puck Drop -- Martin Brodeur
will be making his 33rd consecutive start. If Jonathan Quick starts for L.A., it'll be the third straight game in which Brodeur has faced another Olympic goalie. He went against Buffalo's Ryan Miller (Team USA) on Wednesday and Toronto's Jonas Gustavsson (Sweden) on Friday. Quick is slated to be Team USA's No. 3 behind Miller and Tim Thomas. Quick went against Thomas on Saturday.