The Los Angeles Kings' pattern of inconsistency has carried over into their season-high road trip, but they have proved steady in many recent visits to New Jersey.
The Kings, however, will have to face a Devils team that's coming off a pair of stingy efforts and has a red-hot power play going into Sunday's matchup.
Los Angeles (33-18-3) has alternated wins and losses in its last seven games, including a 2-1 record on a seven-game trip. It began with a pair of lopsided results, winning 9-2 in Boston on Tuesday before losing 5-2 to the New York Islanders on Thursday. They nearly suffered a second straight defeat Friday but pulled off a 5-4 overtime victory over the New York Rangers.
Anze Kopitar completed his third career hat trick with 29.7 seconds left in regulation, and Tanner Pearson moved Los Angeles to 8-1 in the NHL's 3-on-3 format for extra periods.
"We weren't very happy with the way we played (Thursday). We talked about responding, and I think guys did a fairly good job," defenseman Luke Schenn said. "Obviously, there are a couple of things we need to tighten up for sure. I think our goals against is a little higher than we would have liked, but a win is a win.
"This is a huge road trip and a huge point in our season. Every two points we'll take."
The Pacific Division leaders haven't won back-to-back games since Jan. 17-19 but are heading to a place where they are 6-1-1 in their last eight visits, including three in the 2012 Stanley Cup finals and a 3-1 win March 23 in the teams' last matchup.
The Kings held the Devils to nine goals in those eight games and to 1 for 20 on the power play, but New Jersey has been tough to stop with the man advantage lately.
The Devils (28-21-7) are coming off back-to-back 2-1 wins, scoring all of their goals on the power play. That unit is 11 for 25 in the past nine contests, including 7 for 11 at home.
"Power play is going right now," Adam Henrique said after scoring the overtime winner against Philadelphia on Saturday. "Past couple of games it's been the difference maker, getting us two points."
Henrique scored on the power play in both games, giving him three goals and two assists in the last four games.
Los Angeles also has been strong on the power play, going 8 for 17 in five games this month, but has allowed a power-play goal in four straight.
New Jersey has had no such problems, killing 22 of 23 penalties this month while getting solid play from Cory Schneider. He stopped 31 shots Saturday and improved to 7-2-1 with a 1.59 goals-against average in his last 10 starts.
With the Devils playing on back-to-back days, it's unclear if coach John Hynes will start Schneider again. Schneider started both games in New Jersey's most recent back-to-back set Monday and Tuesday, earning a 2-1 win over Edmonton in the second.
The Kings have played their past two games without top goaltender Jonathan Quick (lower body), and they placed Marian Gaborik (knee) on injured reserve Saturday.
Quick, who reportedly practiced Saturday, is 8-3-1 with a 1.29 GAA in his past 12 games against New Jersey, including the postseason.