Kings-Red Wings Preview
The Los Angeles Kings are hoping their excellent play away from home thus far continues during the most travel-heavy portion of their schedule.
They'll look to end a six-game losing streak in Detroit, where the Red Wings have been slumping, on Friday night.
After playing a league-high 12 of their first 17 at home, the Pacific Division-leading Kings (12-6-0) are in a stretch in which they play 15 of 20 on the road. Los Angeles, 5-1-0 away from Staples Center, opened a five-game trip with a 3-2 shootout win over Philadelphia on Tuesday.
The Kings were 15-18-8 on the road in 2014-15.
"It's huge for us to get this (road trip) on the right track," said center Anze Kopitar, who has eight goals and 10 assists in his last 16 games against the Red Wings. "It wasn't the prettiest, but at the end of the day we got two points."
The Kings have won 12 of 15, and coach Darryl Sutter was especially pleased with a victory in his team's first shootout of the season. Los Angeles was 2-8 in tiebreakers last season.
"We missed the playoffs last year by two points because of overtimes and shootouts," Sutter said.
Detroit (9-8-2) went 22-10-9 at Joe Louis Arena last season, but is 4-5-1 there in 2015-16 and has lost six of eight, falling 2-1 in overtime to Washington on Wednesday.
"We want to become a really good hockey team," coach Jeff Blashill said. "We got to find a way to win these games at home."
The Red Wings have scored 10 goals in their last six games overall. Gustav Nyquist leads the club with seven goals but has two in his past eight.
They surrendered a goal 45 seconds into the extra period against the Capitals, falling to 3-2 in shootouts and overtime.
"We took too many penalties," Blashill said. "You can't have four in the first period. I thought as the game went along our penalty kill got better and better and better."
The six power plays allowed matched a season high for Detroit, though it only surrendered one goal. The Red Wings have limited opponents to four power-play goals on 34 opportunities over the last 11 games.
Likewise, Los Angeles' power play has been potent, converting 11 of 35 over the last 13 games.
Petr Mrazek has helped Detroit remain competitive despite its offensive struggles, posting a 1.79 goals-against average in his last eight games.
Jonathan Quick had given up three or more goals in five of six starts before stopping 36 shots Tuesday.
The Kings have scored two or fewer goals in all but one game during their skid at Joe Louis.
Los Angeles' 1-0 victory over the Wings on Feb. 24 was their third win in 11 meetings. Quick made 20 saves after recording a 3.54 GAA in his previous 11 matchups.
His 2.96 career GAA in 21 games against Detroit is his second-highest against any team.
Henrik Zetterberg has recorded four goals and nine assists in his last nine meetings with Los Angeles.