Capitals-Kings Preview

It's been nearly three months since the Los Angeles Kings have to put together a winning streak this long, but now is as good of a time as any for a club still sitting on the outside of the playoff picture.

The Kings seek a fourth consecutive victory Saturday night as they host a surging Washington Capitals team that shut them out a week and a half ago.

Los Angeles (24-18-12) sits three points behind Calgary for the Western Conference's second wild-card spot after gaining ground with a 5-3 win over the Flames on Thursday night.

Tyler Toffoli registered his first career hat trick for the defending Stanley Cup champions, who have won three in a row for the first time since Nov. 15-20.

''It's a personal accomplishment, but we're a pretty tight-knit group here and individual stats don't really mean a whole lot,'' Toffoli said. ''At this time of the year, it's huge just to get wins. We're just trying to win games and get consistent. It's our third straight, and we've got to keep going.''

The Kings have scored 13 goals during their winning streak, with Toffoli netting five. The 22-year-old winger has a team-high 18 on the season and six in seven games after missing the previous six with a concussion.

''I think Tyler's been doing a really good job,'' said center Jeff Carter, who had two of his three assists against Calgary on Toffoli's goals. ''Obviously, there's going to be ups and downs, and we've all had streaks where the puck hasn't been going in for us. But Tyler's really strong in his own end and plays the right way. He battles on the walls and makes plays to the centerman, which makes my job a heck of a lot easier. For a young guy, he's pretty impressive.''

Los Angeles' 40 points at home are the most after 29 games in team history after it began a three-game homestand on a positive note. Its current streak includes winning the final two of a five-game road trip after dropping the first three - including a 4-0 loss to Washington on Feb. 3.

Troy Brouwer scored twice in that contest as the Capitals (29-16-10) ended a seven-game losing streak to the Kings, and he netted a power-play goal in Wednesday's 5-4 overtime win at San Jose to begin a four-game trip.

Joel Ward scored the winner and Jay Beagle added two goals for Washington, which has won four of five and holds one of the East's wild-card spots.

"To get the first win at the start of a tough road trip, a tough four games here, that's huge," Beagle said. "It's a big momentum boost and we're looking forward to L.A. now."

Braden Holtby admitted to not being as sharp as he'd like to have been against the Sharks, but he made 26 saves to improve to 4-1-1 since Jan. 28. He had a 0.80 goals-against average and two shutouts over his previous five starts, including a 27-save effort in his first career outing against Los Angeles.

Jonathan Quick has been in net for each game during the Kings' winning streak, posting a 2.67 GAA. He's 4-1-0 with a 2.71 GAA in five career starts against the Capitals after making 23 saves in the first meeting.

Los Angeles has won four straight home matchups since Washington won there in 2005.


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