Anze Kopitar continues to show why the Los Angeles Kings want to keep him around for many years to come.
With an expected contract extension in tow, Kopitar looks to build on his second four-point game in two weeks and help the Kings to an eighth victory in 10 games Saturday against the visiting Ottawa Senators.
Four days after Kopitar recorded a goal and three assists in a 4-2 win over Detroit, Los Angeles was expected Friday to announce a reported eight-year, $80 million deal with the 28-year-old center. In the final season of a seven-year, $47.6 million contract, Kopitar has gotten all but seven of his team-leading 35 points in the last 24 games.
In his 10th season with the Kings (27-12-3), Kopitar has 230 goals and 415 assists.
"I think he's one of the best players in the world, and maybe he doesn't get as much credit because of where we are geographically," teammate Alec Martinez said.
Kopitar has posted three goals and 12 assists while Los Angeles has gone 7-1-1 since the NHL's three-day Christmas break. The Pacific Division leaders have averaged 3.1 goals and converted 31 percent (9 of 29) of their power-play chances over the span.
"I feel pretty good," Kopitar said. "Even before the Christmas break, we were playing pretty well. It's just about building momentum, putting winning streaks together (and) most importantly not losing two games in a row."
In the midst of a 7-0-1 stretch, teammate Jonathan Quick has a 1.13 goals-against average in his last seven starts.
Los Angeles, 14-3-1 at home since losing its first three there, fell 5-3 at Ottawa (20-18-6) on Dec. 14. Kopitar had an assist and Quick struggled while facing 21 shots as the Senators scored the first four goals of the second period.
Ottawa, however, has averaged 1.7 goals during a 2-10-1 road stretch and been outscored 11-2 while dropping the first two on a five-game trip. The Senators have scored nine goals while losing five of seven overall and gone 2 for 25 on the power play in their last eight.
"We've got to do a better job of manufacturing scoring opportunities and get something going," said forward Kyle Turris, who has two points in the last 10 road games. "We've got to find a way to get more pucks and bodies to the net and create some kind of chaos and ugliness in front of the net."
Bobby Ryan's 36 points are tied for the lead among Ottawa's forwards, but his three points in a 3-2 overtime win at St. Louis on Jan. 4 is all the scoring he's produced in the last eight. He has two goals and three assists in his last five against the Kings.
Craig Anderson snapped an 0-4-2 stretch against Los Angeles with a 33-save performance last month. However, he has a 3.66 GAA during an 0-5-1 road slide overall.
It's possible Andrew Hammond could get the start if he's ready to return after leaving the team this week to attend to a personal matter. He yielded every goal in Sunday's 7-1 loss at Washington.