Previewing the Los Angeles Kings' 2013-14 season:
Game 74 @ Pittsburgh
March 27, 2014
4pm PST (7pm EST)
After winning in Philadelphia on Monday and rallying to win in Washington the next night, the Los Angeles Kings wrap up their three-game road swing at the Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh where they hope to have their way with the Penguins. The Kings hope to go a perfect 3-0-0 on this trip before heading home to Staples Center for a few games.
Thursday will mark the second and final meeting between the Kings and Pens with Pittsburgh winning by a 4-1 score back on January 30 in Los Angeles.
The Kings, though, have been a better since then, especially away from Staples Center. The silver-and-black are winners of seven-straight on the road with a chance to tie a club record (set during the 1974-75 season) with a win over Sidney Crosby and company.
At 46-21-5, the Penguins have a comfortable lead atop the Metropolitan Division. Entering Thursday, the Pens have a 13-point lead in their division and despite losing their last two decisions, need just one point to clinch a playoff spot. The Kings will look to prevent that but give Pittsburgh’s 26-7-2 record at home, it will not be an easy feat.
Evgeni Malkin, who scored once and added an assist in Los Angeles just less than two months earlier, will not be in the lineup for the Pens on Thursday. He will be sidelined for the next 2-3 weeks with a sprained foot. In addition, defenseman Paul Martin is out with a broken hand while fellow blueliner Kris Letang is still recovering from a stroke.
With Jonathan Quick playing both Monday and Tuesday, there is a chance that he’ll get the nod again in Pittsburgh, but don’t be surprised to see Martin Jones in between the pipes instead.
While the Kings will most likely finish third in the Pacific, they won’t be any less hungry in this contest as they are simply looking to garner all the momentum they can entering the playoffs.
Dustin Brown has nine points in his last 12 games entering Pittsburgh and may have some extra incentive to perform given that Penguins coach Dan Bylsma, who coached Brown for Team USA in Sochi, benched him late in the tournament. Don’t expect any hard feelings but perhaps the situation will force the Los Angeles captain to step up his game a notch. Speaking of Jonathan Quick, he has won his last four starts and is 10-2-0 since February 6. If Darryl Sutter does elect to start No. 32, he has good reason to.
For Pittsburgh, Jussi Jokinen has four points in his last five games. Also, considering he notched a goal and two assists during the last meeting between these two clubs, expect the Kings to make an extra effort to contain the Finn. Also, and quintessentially, it’s hard to discuss Penguin hot streaks without mentioned Sidney Crosby’s name. In his past five, the Hart candidate has three goals and four assists.
It should be a great contest as the Kings hope to enter the weekend (and return home) on a winning note.
Enjoy the game!