Preview: Senators at Kings
The Los Angeles Kings ended December strong, winning five of their final six games of the month. January has been a different story, however, as the Kings have dropped three of their first four contests heading into Thursday's matchup against the visiting Ottawa Senators.
Los Angeles' latest defeat was a 3-1 setback at San Jose on Monday in which captain Anze Kopitar scored for the second time in two games. The 31-year-old Slovenian has notched a point in three straight contests and 11 of his last 14. Ottawa neither ended last month nor began this one with success as it was on an eight-game slide (0-7-1) before kicking off its three-game California trip Wednesday with a 2-1 overtime victory in Anaheim. Former Duck Bobby Ryan forged a tie midway through the third period and Colin White scored 1:34 into the extra session as the Senators won for the first time since edging Nashville in overtime on Dec. 17.
TV: 10:30 p.m. ET, TSN5, RDS (Ottawa), FS West (Los Angeles)
ABOUT THE SENATORS (16-23-5): Matt Duchene did not accompany the team on its trek through the Golden State as he remained in Ottawa to be with his wife for the birth of their child. The 27-year-old, who ranks second on the team in both goals (18) and points (42), has landed on the scoresheet in each of his last four contests - collecting three goals and two assists during the streak. Mark Stone notched an assist against the Hurricanes, giving him a team-leading 48 points overall and five during his four-game streak.
ABOUT THE KINGS (17-24-3): Nikita Scherbak was assigned to Ontario of the American Hockey League prior to Monday's loss after recording one goal and a minus-4 rating in eight games with Los Angeles. The 23-year-old Russian right wing, who was selected by Montreal with the 26th overall pick in the 2014 draft, was claimed off waivers on Dec. 1 after registering five tallies and two assists in 29 contests with the Canadiens over the previous two seasons. Dustin Brown has notched an assist in each of his last three games, bringing him within eight points of 600 for his career.
1. Kings C Jeff Carter has scored only eight goals in 43 games but leads the team with five power-play tallies.
2. Ottawa LW Mikkel Boedker has registered four assists over his last seven contests and is one shy of 200 for his career.
3. Los Angeles C Carl Hagelin has notched two assists in seven games since being acquired from Pittsburgh, with which he registered three points in 16 contests this season.
PREDICTION: Kings 3, Senators 2