The New Jersey Devils have struggled to keep opponents out of the net since Keith Kinkaid shut out the Los Angeles Kings last month but shined in the opener to their West Coast trip with Kinkaid filling in admirably for an injured Cory Schneider.
The Devils will seek to build on that victory by stifling the Kings again Saturday night, but Los Angeles has broken out of a recent funk with a pair of high-scoring efforts in its past two games.
New Jersey (32-29-7) gave up 40 goals in a 2-8-0 stretch and 18 in its previous four road games before visiting San Jose on Thursday. Kinkaid allowed six goals in Sunday's loss to Pittsburgh in his first start since Schneider sprained his right knee, an ailment that's expected to sideline him for at least another week.
Schneider is among the league leaders with a 2.17 goals-against average and Kinkaid looked more like his teammate in a 3-0 win over the Sharks, making 30 saves.
"Definitely night and day," Kinkaid said. ''Just from the start I felt a little better. I was tracking it better, better mentally prepared. I just stuck to my game and the guys did a great job blocking shots and not giving them much."
Kinkaid's only other career shutout came against Los Angeles on Feb. 14, when he stopped 28 shots in a 1-0 win for the Devils' fifth victory in the last seven regular-season meetings.
New Jersey has given up a combined 10 goals in those games and will try to remain stingy while cutting its deficit on the Eastern Conference's final playoff spot with a fourth consecutive regular-season win in Los Angeles.
The Devils, though, will face a Kings team which has totaled nine goals in its past two contests.
"It's just worrying about our game," New Jersey forward Travis Zajac said. "You've seen when we play with structure and with details and play hard we're capable of winning games. That has to be our mindset right now."
Jeff Carter finished off Los Angeles' 4-3 overtime win against league-leading Washington on Wednesday, its sixth in seven home games, but the Kings (40-22-4) weren't content after blowing an early three-goal lead.
"It's a huge two points for us, but we have got to start playing playoff hockey and a full 60 minutes," defenseman Jake Muzzin said. "I think we can take our start as a lesson for us. We need to have that kind of momentum every game."
Carter has three goals in the past two games, matching his output from his previous 24 contests. He doesn't have a point in his three matchups with New Jersey since a two-goal game in the Stanley Cup clincher against the Devils in 2012.
Vincent Lecavalier has two goals and two assists in his past four meetings. He has tallied a goal in each of his last two contests, giving him seven in 27 games for the Kings this season.
Los Angeles goaltender Jonathan Quick is 8-4-1 with a 1.59 GAA in 13 lifetime matchups with New Jersey, including six in the playoffs. That's tied for his third-lowest GAA versus any opponent.