The New York Rangers are overcoming a pair of major absences thanks in large part to Henrik Lundqvist. An injury to Jonathan Quick has already posed a problem for the Los Angeles Kings.
Lundqvist should get a chance to spur the Rangers to a fifth straight win Friday night when they try to capitalize on Quick's potential absence.
New York (31-18-5) is 5-2-0 since Rick Nash went down with a bone bruise in his left leg. The team has also won both games without captain Ryan McDonagh, who is sidelined with a concussion.
While there's no timetable for either to return, another dazzling performance from Lundqvist could keep the Rangers rolling. He's won eight of his last 10 starts with a 1.77 goals-against average, winning four straight behind a 1.23 GAA after making 34 saves in a 3-0 win at Pittsburgh on Wednesday.
"There's no doubt that our goaltending was outstanding," coach Alain Vigneault said. "(Lundqvist) made some big saves at key times and we were able to get some timely goals."
Lundqvist will be facing the Kings for the first time since posting a .923 save percentage while New York lost to the Kings in five games of the 2014 Stanley Cup Final.
Quick had a .932 save percentage in that series and a .903 mark while splitting two matchups that Lundqvist missed last season. However, he's expected to miss a second straight game with an undisclosed injury, leaving Pacific Division-leading Los Angeles (32-18-3) to decide between backup Jhonas Enroth and Peter Budaj, whose last appearance in the NHL came with Montreal in April 2014.
Enroth surrendered three goals in the opening period Thursday, finishing with 25 saves in a 5-2 loss to the New York Islanders.
"We've been a really good team at bouncing back this year and that's what we have to do again heading into (Friday) night," left wing Milan Lucic told the team's official website.
That will require a better effort in net, and Enroth is 1-2-0 with a 3.20 GAA in his last four games against the Rangers, while Budaj has won three of four with a 2.17 GAA.
Lucic has four points in two games, scoring a goal in each. He's netted three goals over the past two meetings with New York, but those came with Boston.
The Rangers could use a strong stretch from Kevin Hayes, who ended a 12-game goal drought Thursday. The right wing has eight goals after netting 17 as a rookie last season. His failure to build on that made him a healthy scratch in back-to-back games last month.
He has two points in two meetings with the Kings, finding the net in a 4-2 win at MSG on March 24.
Jesper Fast snapped his streak of 11 games without a goal on Wednesday. The right wing, though, has seven points in his last eight contests but none in two against Los Angeles.
"When you miss some of your top people, it's an opportunity for some other guys to step up," Vigneault said.
Lundqvist's next appearance will be his 667th, moving him past Mike Richter for the Rangers record by a goaltender.